Hope Atherton

13 September - 26 October 2002
Sperone Westwater, New York

Press release

“Is it inherent in the human psyche to want to believe in superstition, ritual and myth?” (Hope Atherton)


Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an installation by Hope Atherton, “Shrine” which will inaugurate a new gallery space dedicated to special projects, primarily emerging younger talents.  A two-part work, “Shrine” consists of a sacrificial tree and an eroded root system filled with bodily fluids (i.e. blood and milk) made from both real and fabricated materials.  In these two distinct parts -- one suggestive of action, the other of stasis -- Atherton focuses simultaneously on the act of sacrifice as well as upon rituals performed on the remnants of the sacrificed (ingesting, bathing, touching). Also on view will be six large-scale charcoal and ink drawings.  In this work, Atherton engages ceremonial practices evident in various religions.  Drawing as well from popular science-fiction imagery and narrative, Atherton focuses on the ambiguous separation between the natural and the fantastic, creating a theater through which to glimpse the grotesque side of nature.   

Raised in Warrenton, Virginia and a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Hope Atherton has participated in several group exhibitions, including “American Bricolage” (2000) organized by Sperone Westwater’s director, David Leiber and artist, Tom Sachs.  Her first solo exhibition was in the “White Room” at White Columns, New York in 2001.  This past April, Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, Rome hosted her exhibition “Howl” and a  catalogue was published on this occasion which is available through Sperone Westwater.