New York

Nancy Azara

E.M. Donahue / A.I.R. Gallery

Part of the first wave of artists that began to explore feminist issues in earnest, Nancy Azara creates sculptures, from wood and found objects, that simultaneously evoke a mythical, pre-Christian era in an attempt to posit a collective feminine identity. Reflecting a kind of feminism that now seems quaint, if not simplistic, Azara’s project challenges patriarchal Western paradigms through the archetypal, Jungian-based notion of the goddess.

Two galleries featured Azara’s monumental “altars”: freestanding constructions fashioned of hand-carved wood, painted and covered with weathered gold leaf. The most notable of these works was the looming Spirit House of the Mother, 1994, at E. M. Donahue, a shimmering gold house with a blood-red interior covered with traces of the carving process that become metaphors for a journey to spiritual wholeness. Two more tabernacles were presented at A.I.R.

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