Monday, August 31, 2009
How a Monster is Made, How a Monster is Destroyed; Part II
The more I looked at my original drawing, the less satisfied I was with it, so I've worked on it some more, and thought about it some more, and this is the result.
About the painting:
Medusa was once a much-coveted maiden and a priestess in Athena's temple. However, she was raped by Poseiden, and afterwards, in her fury, she transformed her lovely hair into vicious serpents, and her beautiful face into something the sight of which would turn a man to stone. The terror and the violation and her resulting rage turned her into a monster.
Perseus was a fisherman's apprentice who was sent on what was thought to be an impossible quest by a king who wanted to be rid of him: he was told to bring back the head of Medusa. On his journey, he received the help of three divine beings, one of whom was Athena, who gave him a mirrored shield. He used the shield to locate Medusa through her reflection, protecting himself from the curse of her face, and he was able to sever her head from her neck. From her open neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus-the winged horse that Perseus is often shown riding in Renaissance art. So, from terror and rage rose a monster, but because of Perseus' commitment and tenacity, the monster gave birth to a magical creature and a hero. Later, Perseus was able to use the head of Medusa--once a source of fear for him--as a weapon for self-defense.
In this painting, the girl has been hiding under the bed from the monsters and terrors of the world. But she has discovered that by careful attention to her surroundings and meaningful interaction with her environment, she can become an active participant in her life--she is no longer forced to live in a constant state of cowering defense. She moves the vest pattern and the bee-keeping book just so, she adjusts the position of the green ink, the key and the comb, and as she does, new worlds pop into being, the resilient Perseus begins taking form, as well as a tall, powerful woman--a goal for the child, or a model, an idea of what she might become. The architecture of her room, once a small, cramped, sealed place, begins to widen, and the sky reverberates outward. She pieces together her heroes, and the breath of life and spirit, in the form of birds, comes to fill them.
(Detail: Perseus and the Planets)
Small planets begin; part of their process of expansion is the formation of new gods...
(Detail: The Creator Dreamer)