Nancy Spero Artist Edition: Torture of Women

Nancy Spero


“In Panel XI of Spero’s monumental work Torture of Women, a group of figures are suspended in air in motion, dancing in defiance of the creature that looms near. It is one of the moments in Torture of Women which makes space for humanity to thrive in the sea of inhumanity which seems to ever tighten its grip.

Those versed in ancient mythology or the psychology of the archetype might recall that the night and the underworld are associated with the goddess, the feminine principle, and represent a pre-conscious, matriarchal reality, inherently ambiguous because it contains both good and evil. A more direct explanation is Spero’s desire to find a way out of her hellish journey through visual gestures of resistance that counter, rather than simply mirror the text.” —Diana Nemiroff on Panel XI

This gorgeous hand-pulled photo-lithograph excerpts a small section of that panel so that the figures come alive and the details—the rich variations of color, the gestural lines, the textural quality of the paper—can be clearly seen and appreciated. To achieve this depth, Toby Michel at Angeles Press, pulled each print in seven runs with various densities of ink, layered for a perfect balance between contrast and detail.

Spero signed this edition of 60 (with 5 artist’s proofs) on October 1, 2009. The lithograph is housed in a Japanese paper portfolio on which the colophon is printed. The portfolio is an glassine envelope that tucks into the hardback edition of Torture of Women.