Out of Her Shell…Literally

Out of Her Shell...Literally
Venus Bronze, 18 x 19 x 6 cm

Of the bronze series based on women in mythology, the story of Aphrodite was the inspiration for the series.

Depending which version you read, Greek or Roman, Aphrodite, or Venus, was a symbol in many, many cultures of an incredibly beautiful woman. I read about her… arranged marriage commanded by Zeus to a rather poor specimen of male, ensuring Zeus’ wrath by refusing the marriage, she pleading her case for no marriage at all, wanting to be her own woman.

This was everything I’d ever felt about feminism. I envisioned her proud, strong, defiant, beautiful… and coming out of her shell…literally. Symbolically coming out of her shell…out of old restraints, crappy history, the closet. Here was a woman who would choose her partner, or not… she took the risk to live as she wanted and to be whom she was. In creating her, I took my risk creatively…

I knew I wanted Venus to emerge from a shell. I had seen the figurative sculptures of Robert Graham, the great American sculptor who had created the gateway for the 1980 Los Angeles Olympics.  He created figures that melted into the flat background. I borrowed his technology to try for myself.

I sculpted from wax a woman who I felt had all the traits of the Venus that I had envisioned. After I had finished her, I melted some wax in a pot on the stove. When the temperature was just right, I placed the Venus figure into the melting wax. I had to be very careful. If the wax was too hot, the figure would disfigure or melt completely. I watched over her like a mother hen until the figure was exactly melted halfway emerging from the melted background. I removed the pan from the heat and immediately placed it in the refrigerator to set the wax.

After sculpting a shell from wax, I nestled Venus into it. After a few finishing touches, she was perfect. Defiant Venus, coming out.

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