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for immediate release

September 10th - October 22nd, 2005

Works by: Nancy Spero
Opening reception: Saturday, September 10th, 2005; 7-11pm

OVERTONES is pleased to present a solo exhibition of original work by Nancy Spero. This is the first solo exhibition in Los Angeles since 1989 of the legendary feminist artist.

Graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1949, Spero (born:1926) and her husband, political painter Leon Golub, moved to Paris: an ex-patriot protest against the repressive Cold War political and cultural paranoia of McCarthyism. In the mid 1960s, they returned to New York and a country at war. Spero said: "I started to think about how to address the war. I would do it in such a way as to show the collusion of sex and power, and I would do it in such a way as to shock the viewer. I wanted to be obscene, because the war was obscene." Also reacting to, and resenting the fact that women's voices were being dismissed by the art world, she attacked the Vietnam War in a spirit of defiance-both against the sadistic obscenity of the male exercise of power and the rejection of women's art production, establishing herself as one of the primary feminist artists of her generation.

In 1974, Spero produced a seminal feminist artwork entitled "Torture of Women in Chile" about Chilean women political prisoners. This piece marks Spero's decision to use only images of women in her work, as the subject and context within which to investigate and re-imagine power relations in the world. She embarked on a far-ranging revisionist history of the generative role of women in society, conjoining images as diverse as the Venus of Willendorf, the Neolithic Celtic Sheela-na-gig, the Greek Goddess Artemis, female athletes, go-go dancers, Egyptian women with lyres and flutes, Aboriginal female figures and acrobats. These figures are represented in an emphatically celebratory fashion, often raging, dancing, swooping and charging through the length of parchment hieroglyphic scrolls. The political radicalism of this artistic practice stemmed from Spero's deliberate effort to distance her art from Western male-centric emphasis, relying instead on both ancient and contemporary "outsider" forms of visual language to re-imagine and reclaim the history of women's lives. Her vibrant, engaged body of work has inspired generations of younger women artists, in the United States and around the globe.

OVERTONES will present a selection of rarely seen works from Nancy Spero's studio collection; single panel pieces, with images of women throughout history, hand made monoprints on exquisite Japanese rice paper: a celebration of women as protagonists, presented in a political climate-an anti-humanist moment of ongoing cultural and military war-when a life-affirming creative force as empowering as that of Nancy Spero's is urgently needed.

OVERTONES is a Los Angeles art venue that supports and promotes creative endeavors in all artistic disciplines, with emphasis on emerging and mid-career artists, international collaboration and social responsibility. OVERTONES is dedicated to searching outside the confines of established art institutions and presenting work that has the potential to engage a wide range of audiences.

*For further information and images please contact the Director of Exhibitions, Elizabeta Betinski, at word@overtones.org or (310) 915. 0346