Sara Anstis’s Discrete

“Private parts” connote a childlike understanding of sexuality. As a child, we know it’s secret, something that when spoken about, results in a loss of innocence. Yet the feeling remains that our private parts are markers for something incredibly mysterious, deep, dangerous and empowering. Swedish-Canadian artist Sara Anstis’s exhibition, “Discrete” currently on view at Nevven Gallery, is full of private parts. Looking at Anstis’s nude, solitary women is akin to the feeling of being a child, stumbling upon a poster of a naked lady. A blonde woman, bonded at her feet, bends over to breastfeed a blue-tongued rodent; she looks back at us, asking us to shield our eyes. Anstis’s otherworldly, almost cartoonish depictions of elongated breasts, and swollen labia suggest a dream world, where women are unburdened by their sensuality. Sara’s characters emanate unconstrained desire which – as the artist describes it – “can only be created out of a bodily knowledge of sexual pleasure and the power this brings.” Her works on paper are paired with uncanny ceramic sculptures, a shiny rock with a teethed-hole that seems to go on forever, as well as a pastel mural that indicates an entrance to Sara’s fantastical, childlike world. “Discrete” is on view at Nevven, Gothenburg, until April 5th. – Claire Milbrath

Mother, 2020 (Pastel on paper, frame, 56,2 x 48,2 cm)

Eater, 2020 (Glazed stoneware, 11 x 7 x 8 cm)

Geoduck, 2020 (Glazed stoneware, 8 x 4,5 x 2,5 cm)

Fruit and Water, 2020 (Pastel on paper, frame, 52,5 x 40,2 cm)

Mural detail