Ghada Amer, Portrait of a Girl in an Abstract Composition #2, 2014.
Ghada Amer has devoted her career to investigating the female form and its objectification as it is manifested in visual culture. Amer’s motifs are immediately and intentionally familiar to audiences, calling attention to omnipresent depictions of women’s bodies in art history and popular culture. Working in media often seen as gendered, such as embroidery and ceramics, the artist draws her source material from pornography. Her subjects epitomize an exaggerated heteronormative sexual ideal.
Ceramics, Knots, Thoughts, Scraps is Amer’s first exhibition dedicated to ceramics. Known for her embroidered works on canvas, Amer has recently turned to a new medium. Her figurative plates and three-dimensional forms reference the legacy of male artists who represent highly gendered practices, including Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, and John Chamberlain. By evoking them, Amer reminds viewers of the predominance of male practitioners and female subjects in the art historical canon. She locates herself inside the lineage of these great artists, who, despite coming from different time periods and different locations, share a similar mythos of genius.
(Photo © Ghada Amer. Courtesy Cheim & Read, New York.)