Dora Natella

charcoal on vellum paper
19 x 16 in.

plastic, plaster gauze and wood
15 x 12 x 12 in.

Raised and educated in Italy, Dora Natella studied sculpture in the classical tradition at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples. Later, she moved to the United States for advanced studies in bronze casting techniques and for the opportunity to immerse herself in a new culture with fewer direct connections to a classical past. She went on to earn an MFA in sculpture at Western Michigan University, and have continued a practice that includes both teaching at the collegiate level as well as her own work in the studio. Presently, she serves on the faculty of Indiana University, South Bend. In her work, she maintains an allegiance to a legacy of the figurative tradition from the Renaissance but with openness to contemporary modes of expression. As a visual artist Dora Natella was trained within the European/ Western figurative tradition, which perpetuated idealizations of the female form, mostly produced by men. Upon her graduation from the Academy, she was torn between the two worlds, the one of the European Painting and Sculpture Traditions of the past and the social, political and cultural revolutions of the seventies and eighties. In her work she challenged her own ideas about art by claiming control over her own body and the female body in general, and to question issues of gender and the construction of meaning in a work of art. Her journey has been a continuos search for her own identity as an artist and as a woman. Personal narrative, memory, the sculptural process, and her perceptual choices, all contribute to the construction of deeply personal, contemplative and feminine point of view.

© Dora Natella