Clockwise from top left: Venus Asiaticus (Asian Venus,#6);Venus Sui (Self Venus, #4); Venus Degentium (Diaspora Venus, #5); Venus ex Tabulae (Venus of Maps, #2); Venus Maris (Venus of the Sea, #3) and Venus Temporis (Venus of Time, #1)
The genesis of the Venus Series was a three-month long trip through the Mediterranean. Being immersed in Greek and Roman temples and villas with statuary, mosaics and frescoes was mind-blowing. Ancient man’s accomplishments despite limitations of the time kept me in non-stop awe for months. The beauty, scale and geographical span of the structures, and its survival for millennia, was unbelievable. While still traveling I conceived of using our maps to make a collage of Venus, and so the series began. Not wanting my Venuses to be specific to any one country, I gave them Latin names.
Venus Temporis (Venus of Time) 2022 15 x 11 in (38 x 28 cm)
My first Venus, Venus Temporis (Venus of Time), acknowledges the timeless and global connectedness of women, and celebrates their beauty, knowledge, strength and goodness. She turned out as I had visualized, but I had not anticipated that as a result of my using timetables and train schedules from maps, she was not easily recognizable as being made from maps.
Venus ex Tabulae (Venus of Maps) 2022 28 x 22 in (71 x 56 cm)
The second Venus, Venus ex Tabulae (Venus of Maps), was collaged to be quickly recognized as being made from maps. She also pays homage to the timeless and global connectedness of women, celebrating their beauty, knowledge, strength and goodness.
Venus Maris (Venus of the Sea) 2023 72 x 30 in (183 x 76 cm)
I wanted to work larger, so made the next Venus life-sized. Working large scale was surprisingly meticulous and much slower, and I probably spent more hours on this piece than I’ve ever spent on a single piece before. She is collaged from various coastal towns of Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece, which is why Venus Maris (Venus of the Sea) is named for the sea.
Venus Sui (Self Venus) 2023 65 x 47 in (165 x 119 cm)
I wanted to work larger than life-size for the fourth Venus, so settled on making a 5-foot-tall head. My goal was to create a face that didn’t identify with any specific ethnicity. I now wonder if such a face exists. I started the collage using beautiful blues and lavender to create her facial features. But rather than looking like she could be any ethnicity to me she looked European. Needing to divert from my original plan and realizing that she coincidentally had been made from maps of places where I have lived, I turned her into a self-portrait. Hence the name Venus Sui (Self Venus).
Venus Degentium (Venus Diaspora) 2023 36 x 24 in (91 x 61 cm)
The fifth Venus, Venus Degentium (Diaspora Venus), represents the African diaspora (separation from ancestral homeland). The figure and face of this Venus celebrates African femininity, in contrast to the classical Greek and Roman feminine ideal. Her long curly hair is made from a collage of the United States. She stands regally upon an open book (truth and knowledge) / lotus flower (serenity) / half-shell (beauty). The two-page spread shows a map of the world misleadingly entitled, “The Age of Discovery”. She is unchained, but the pages of the book are bound together with chains representing our inescapable tie to our nation’s history. She wears a halo in homage to generations of suffering and martyrdom as a result of the slave trade. In her hand she holds the continent of Africa in a loose grip.
Venus Asiaticus (Asian Venus) 2023 102 x 43 in (259 x 109 cm)
The sixth Venus, Venus Asiaticus (Asian Venus), stands the tallest so far – 8 ½ feet! She celebrates all Asian women and is not limited to a specific area or country. Her elegant hands, held in an offset position, symbolize serenity and were inspired by wood carvings.
Venus Sirenusae (Mermaid Venus / Siren Venus) 2023 30 x 80 in. (76 x 203 cm)
The most playful of the Venuses, Venus Sirenusae (Mermaid Venus / Siren Venus), was inspired by a boating trip to The Sirenusas Islands, off the Amalfi coast of Italy. What a thrill to learn that the tiny islands we know from Homer’s Odyssey really do exist! In Greek mythology sirens lured sailors to destruction by the sweetness of their song. Medieval interpretations depicted the sirens as mermaids. How fun that the Latin word for mermaid is syreni. Hence, Venus Sirenusa’sdouble-barreled English name: Mermaid Venus and Siren Venus. She is a life-sized mermaid (if such a thing exists), and the first of the Venus series to be represented in a reclining position. She wears a starfish crown, sunglasses, and a bikini top made from maps of the United States. Perched on a floating map of the world she rides a wave under a radiant sun.
Copyright © 2023 M Susan Broussard - All Rights Reserved.