Joseph Meloy - Birth of Venus

August 7, 2021
Joseph Melos - Birth of Venus, 2021. Photo by Thomas Dashuber.
Joseph Melos - Birth of Venus, 2021. Photo by Thomas Dashuber.

For this picture, the American artist Joseph Meloy uses a wide variety of materials, symbolic elements and a particular format with a grey frame to depict a strongly mystical and ceremonial event. This work was composed with the help of collages and skillful grisaille painting and, due to the monotony used, it appears as if it were an old photography. It is precisely this play with stylization and realism that makes this work look almost grotesque - the Botticelli figures were cut out, glued on, and placed in the same constellation, but with a different meaning. There are no more rose flowers and petals floating around Venus, but pizza slices and banknotes: a clear indication of human denigration, evanescence, reprehensibility and at the same time, stands as a memento mori symbol. The faces of the figures, which are covered with African masks, also have a significantly gloomy effect: a close connection to tribal art is created and thus creates the desire to point to a kind of sinister initiation ceremony. Meloy manages to present a special juxtaposition of irony and criticism, because it seems as if this newly created Venus points to a coming end-time. There is a noticeable apocalyptic atmosphere, which is supported not only by the colorlessness of the paintings, but also by the fact that the goddess Venus is no longer levitating on the sea foam, but she’s standing on the barren mainland.


About the author

Cezara-Maria Casian