My contribution to the "Visions of Venus" show opening April 20 @zhoubartcenter “The Anadyomene” (The Rising) pronounced: anna-deh-oh-meh-nee
Oil and Gold Leaf on Panel, 28.5 x 35.5 inches
The Birth of Venus, or Aphrodite arising from the sea foam, has intrigued artists for millennia. Superficially it presents the opportunity to depict a sumptuous nude surrounded by azure aquatic motifs, but upon closer inspection the seed of the myth flowers into mystical complexity. Though the outward personification of beauty and grace, the enchanted perennial virgin, Aphrodite was born of a violent dethronement.
In many cultures, there is a general idea of descent, of falling through various manifestations from a singular source. In the beginning, Darkness gave rise to Chaos and from Chaos emerged Gaia (Mother Earth). Gaia in turn created Uranus (Father Sky), who became her consort. The primordial pair created many children, but fearing the power of their offspring, Uranus cast his rebellious sons into Tartarus, a dark underworld. When Uranus once again impregnated Gaia with the powerful race of Giants known as the Titans, she decided to free her captive children. She persuaded the Titans to overthrow Uranus. The Titans attacked Uranus as he slept, and the youngest of them, Cronos (Crow)*, castrated him. Cronos threw the severed genitals into the sea, where foam developed and from this sea foam Aphrodite arose. One could interpret Uranus in this context as a sacrificial king at the end of an age, and the blade Cronos used as the sickle that cut the earth from the sky. Aphrodite is the embodiment of the desire for return to the primordial states of earthbound pleasure and heavenly bliss.