Top image: Venus Aquatilis 108 x 144 in (274 x 365 cm)
Video: Venus Aquatilis (Underwater Venus), 108 x 144 in (274 x 365 cm).
Above left to right: Venus Temporis (Venus of Time) 15 x 11 in (38 x 28 cm); Venus Abolitionis (Venus of Abolition) 20.5 x 24 in. (55 x 61 cm) and Venus Sui (Self Venus) 65 x 47 in (165 x 119 cm)
Above: Venus Sirenusae (Mermaid Venus / Siren Venus) 30 x 80 in. (76 x 203 cm)
Clockwise from top left: Venus Asiaticus (Asian Venus) 102 x 43 in (259 x 109 cm); Venus Degentium (Venus Diaspora) 36 x 24 in (91 x 61 cm); Venus Maris (Venus of the Sea) 72 x 30 in (183 x 76 cm) and Venus ex Tabulae (Venus of Maps) 28 x 22 in (71 x 56 cm).
Left to right: Venus Mundi (Venus of the World) 12 x 12 in (30 x 30 cm); Coelestis Venus (Celestial Venus) 10 x 14 in (25 x 35 cm).
ABOUT THE VENUS SERIES
The Venus Series is a series of eleven collages made from maps. This series began with maps collected while traveling in the Mediterranean. Photos I had seen over the years had failed to convey to me the utter monumental scale of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and architecture. I find myself in everlasting awe. Ancient art and architecture throughout the globe, particularly figurative and portraiture, convey to me the connectedness of humankind across the ages. This connectedness, as well as the ubiquitous Venus sculptures in Greece and Italy inspired this series.
Some of the Venuses in these collages may resemble those in classical art, but the Venuses in these collages are strong women with a renewed sense of agency not always seen in classical art. Each Venus bears a Latin name so as not to be identified as being authentic to any single country or geographical area.
Maps are beautiful standing alone and may be enhanced when sentimental value is attached to them. Maps connect us with our own journeys: places we’ve been to, or places we know about or hope to visit. The first three Venuses of this series were collaged from maps of my own travels. Since then, others have generously given me maps, through which I vicariously enjoy every scribbled note and stain of spilt coffee. No two collages of The Venuses Series are designed alike, and each was inspired by something different. The works of this series range in scale from 12 x 12 inches to 9 x 12 feet. Some are collaged onto paper, and others onto canvas. The Venuses range from playful and joyful, to serious. Aside from celebrating the global connectedness of women throughout history, these Venuses are an expression of what I have experienced myself as a woman living and traveling in this world. The Venus Series uses maps in unexpected ways to take us on unexpected journeys.
La Serie Venus es una serie de nueve collages hechos a partir de mapas. Esta serie comenzó con mapas recopilados mientras viajaba por el Mediterráneo. Las fotografías que había visto a lo largo de los años no me habían logrado transmitir la escala monumental absoluta de la escultura y la arquitectura griega y romana antigua. Me encuentro en un asombro eterno. El arte y la arquitectura antiguos de todo el mundo, en particular los figurativos y los retratos, me transmiten la conexión de la humanidad a lo largo de los tiempos. Esta conexión, así como las omnipresentes esculturas de Venus en Grecia e Italia, inspiraron esta serie.
Algunas de las Venus de estos collages pueden parecerse a las del arte clásico, pero las Venus de estos collages son mujeres fuertes con una renovada influencia (como una individuo único) que no siempre se ve en el arte clásico. Cada Venus lleva un nombre latino para no ser identificada como auténtica en ningún país o área geográfica
Los mapas son hermosos por sí solos y pueden mejorarse cuando se les atribuye un valor sentimental. Los mapas nos conectan con nuestros propios viajes: lugares en los que hemos estado o lugares que conocemos o esperamos visitar. Las primeras tres Venus de esta serie fueron recopiladas a partir de mapas de mis propios viajes. Desde entonces, otros me han dado generosamente mapas, a través de los cuales disfruto indirectamente de cada nota garabateada y de cada mancha de café derramado. No hay dos collages de La Serie Venus que estén diseñados iguales y cada uno se inspiró en algo diferente. Las obras de esta serie varían en escala desde 15 x 11 pulgadas hasta 9 x 12 pies. Algunos están collages sobre papel y otros sobre lienzo. Las Venus varían desde juguetonas y alegres hasta serias. Además de celebrar la conexión global de las mujeres a lo largo de la historia, estas Venus son una expresión de lo que yo misma he experimentado como mujer viviendo y viajando en este mundo. La Serie Venus utiliza mapas de formas inesperadas para llevarnos a viajes inesperados
Venus Temporis (Venus of Time) 2022 15 x 11 in (38 x 28 cm)
The first Venus created for the series, Venus Temporis (Venus of Time), celebrates the timeless and global connectedness of women, acknowledging feminine beauty, knowledge, strength and goodness. The concept for this collage came while traveling in the Mediterranean. After returning home and back in the studio, the first collage I created was what I had envisioned. What I had not anticipated was that even though this collage is made of pieces of timetables and train schedules from maps, the collage is not easily recognizable as being made from maps. This Venus gets her name from the timetables.
Venus ex Tabulae (Venus of Maps) 2022 28 x 22 in (71 x 56 cm)
The second Venus, Venus ex Tabulae (Venus of Maps), is a sightly larger version of the original Venus of the series and was collaged to be quickly recognizable as being made from maps. Like the first Venus, she pay homage to the timeless and global connectedness of women, celebrating her beauty, knowledge, strength and goodness.
Venus Maris (Venus of the Sea) 2023 72 x 30 in (183 x 76 cm)
Wanting to work in a larger scale, I created a life-sized Venus. I also wanted this Venus figure to be more of a three-dimensional form, creating an illusion of depth and volume. This process was meticulous, required tinier map pieces and was much slower, but quite rewarding seeing Venus come to life, limb by limb. 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)
Wanting to work in an even larger scale than life-size, I collaged a 5-foot tall head. My initial goal was to create a face that didn’t identify with any specific ethnicity - which has since led me to wonder if such a face even exists. I started the collage by using beautiful blue and lavender map pieces to create her facial features. But rather than looking like she could be any ethnicity, to me she looked European. Abandoning my original plan and realising 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). Ironically, she went from an attempt to represent all women to representing just one woman - me.
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). This Venus's physical characteristics celebrate African femininity, in contrast to the classical Greek and Roman feminine ideal that we often see in Western art. Her curly, full hair is made from a collage of the United States. She stands regally upon triple symbolism: an open book (truth and knowledge) / lotus flower (serenity) / half-shell (beauty). She stands before a vintage 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 which began with 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), spans 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’s double-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.
Venus Abolitionis (Venus of Abolition) 2023 20.5 x 24 in (55 x 61 cm)
The eighth Venus uses vintage maps of Paris and New York City, the two cities with historical connections to the Statue of Liberty. It remains a little-known fact that the statue was originally named La Liberté Éclairant le Monde (Liberty Enlightening the World) by the French abolitionist Edouard de Laboulaye who conceived of creating the statue as a monument to commemorate emancipation - the end of slavery in the United States. Ironically, because of segregation no Blacks were allowed to attend the dedication ceremony on October 28, 1886. No women were allowed to attend either. This statue’s celebration of the end of slavery in the US has been sadly forgotten.
Venus Aquatilis (Underwater Venus) 2023 108 x 144 in (274 x 365 cm)
The 9th Venus of the series swims towards the ocean floor accompanied by a sea turtle, basking in the beauty of her surroundings. Using surprisingly little modifications, a map of English Channel was transformed into Venus's torso, head and flowing hair. The flora and fauna of this coral reef include a giant sea fan, schools of fish, corals, sponges, starfish, jellyfish, octopus and seahorse. The maps used in this collage are examples of Mother Nature’s repeating similar visual patterns in vastly different scales: Rivers and coastlines on maps become the veins and edges of the giant sea fan.
Venus Mundi (Venus of the World) 2024 12 x 12 in (30 x 30 cm
This collage depicts Venus standing atop a map of the world, earning her name, Venus Mundi (Venus of the World). Created specifically to display at the Fairmont Hotel during Frieze LA (the international art fair), the piece can be thought of as a 12 x 12-inch business card of sorts, enticing Frieze guests to visit the rest of the Venus series.
Coelestis Venus (Celestial Venus) 2024 10 x 14 in (25 x 35 cm)
This Venus stands beside an astronomical map, a cartographic representation of the stars and galaxies of the Northern and Southern Skies. She was collaged using maps from around the world and stands before a black background. Her crown is fashioned from a fortified wall depicted in a map of ancient Rome. The iconic 1748 plan of Ancient Rome was made by Italian cartographer and architect Giambattista Nolli(1701-1765).This Venus was created specifically for a group show of small works.
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