Sophy Naess
Sophy Naess / “I Am Natureculture!”
Apr 1 – Jul 15, 2023
Florence, Italy

Jack the Dripper and the little girl were in arcadia, painting, dripping all over the meadow.

I AM Nature! Jack exclaimed.
Same! shouted the little girl exuberantly.

Thunder sounded. Nature said Ahem! YOUR pleasure begets labor little girl. You’re working for the species if it kills you.

The government agreed.

The little girl was confused, frustrated, supine. On the couch. Dr. Freud scratched his chin and said “There is weaving… one of few things ladies invented, little girl. So they could weave their pubes together to hide their lack.”

The little girl understood she had the paint but not the tool….
A noncoercive rearrangement of desire was underway.

(These facts are indisputable, like taste itself.)


“I AM NATURECULTURE!” presents the artist as a painter and a weaver, incorporating the masculinist primatalogical / infantile behavior of of the former with the feminist systems-based approach of the latter* in a layered gesture.

The exhibition includes three new large-scale weavings hand-stitched onto welded folding screens that divide the gallery:

Whose internal reward system? depicting a brain and its dopamine receptors;

A poor, bare, forked animal – not a picture of “unaccommodated man” but instead of a serpent feeling its way through a sensorial landscape; and

Entering a City, in which an urban skyline is melted into water by a rising moon.

On the floor in the space behind the screens is a pink electronic cigarette from Shenzen Woody Vapes, containing 10% CBD oil.

Also displayed are two prints of life-sized string figures that mirror each other in a Dionysian offering, entitled The left hates Eros and The right hates Eros.

Having produced oil paintings on the clock for five men prior to academic symbiosis, the artist currently makes them only when in the mood; usually from observation of friends, flora, and the city. In the office two are presented: Sophie the Dog (originally exhibited as A Sassy Dog of Indeterminate Age in the exhibition All the Things You Are at the Middler in 2017) and Sophy the Person (2020).

Also on view in the office is a collagraph print referencing Baselitz’s New Types, a figure made of woven grasses and printed in collaboration with Marina Ancona.

*Or is it the other way around?


Sophy Naess (born 1982, Chicago, Illinois) is trained as an oil painter and maintains an active multidisciplinary practice that includes weaving, writing, and various print based projects. Observational painting is a constant in her work, and in recent years she has produced expressive wall sized tapestries at the same time as creating thematic albums of smaller paintings on canvas.

Naess’s painterly weavings draw on a variety of techniques and defy the dichotomy between figuration and abstraction. She paints onto unwoven warp threads before weaving them into cloth, embedding painting into the weave and collapsing the distinction between support and surface. Her painted images are submitted to the tension the loom exerts on each thread, creating the appearance of a blur, stretch or rupture as the painting is transposed through the digital patterning of the loom’s binary system.

An interest in the deconstruction of this system initiated an ongoing series of prints made from barely woven thread compositions. Printmaking is used as a capture mode, bringing forth image from an entangled fiber matrix that appears as a drawing when inked and pressurized.

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