As an artist, if I were to have a “mission statement”, it is to bring an awareness of eros, of love and beauty, feeling and intuition, mystery and passion back into our overly masculine perception of the world.
Empowering the feminine.
Two weeks ago I quoted from a poem by M.C. Richards – “Aphrodite lifts her foaming mouth to the beach and steps from her shell” — and went on to describe how the symbolic meaning of the sea shell, as found in most paintings of the birth of the Greek Aphrodite or Roman Venus, is that it represents the vulva; the external organ of generation in the female.
Richards also uses the word “foaming”. And this comes from the etymology of Aphrodite herself which means “rising foam”. (In Greek, sea foam is called ‘aphros.’) The below painting by Ingres shows Aphrodite surrounded by sea foam.
Most interesting, however, is that the story of her birth all started when Cronus, the youngest son of the Earth goddess Gaia, castrated his father Uranus with a sickle and tossed the genitals into the ocean (or, we could say, back into the feminine waters of Gaia). The sea foam that resulted from this potent mix of male and female energies gave rise to Aphrodite, the goddess of fertility, love and beauty.
All the above is by way of introducing the reader to the finished sculpture I first wrote about in my blog entry of November 29 when it was first being carved.
Four and a half months later, ‘Ovum d’Aphrodite’ is finished.
The finished piece is about the size that the fully mature Aphrodite would have stepped from. But this sculpture nestles Aphrodite — as a fertilized egg – into a stylized womb that itself is nestled into a scallop shell.
Within the inner sanctum of the vulva, the egg of the soon to be born Aphrodite is placed into a chalice that is comprised of two crescent shaped moons/boats that join to create the pointed oval vesica piscis that is often painted as an aureole around the Virgin Mary’s head.
Seen from behind, the sculpture’s labia exude a more visceral, muscled quality.
Seen from the front, the stylized labia can take on the appearance of a fur coat surrounding a neck or head. The question has to then be asked: Are the full lapel collars used in fashion an unconscious representation of the vulva?
Can we start to speak more honestly about the presence of the feminine, hidden or otherwise, in our world?
I guess I just want to say that these old stories, although much forgotten, are still a part of us. They need to be re-membered, made alive once again through the artist’s eyes, hands and heart and given a new life; a new birth, so to speak.
And before any reader starts thinking that I’m just a wimpy SNAG (sensitive new age guy), think again. Aphrodite’s immense, overpowering beauty and her ability to love with deep passion was the result of the union of the masculine (sky god Uranus) and the feminine (earth goddess Gaia).
In nature as in most things, it takes two to tangle/tango.