I saw Bernini’s ‘Apollo and Daphne’ (above) in Galleria Borghese in Rome a couple of years ago the work is strikingly beautiful and appears to be influencing present concerns; the work depicts the moment when Daphne is transformed into a laurel tree: Apollo, who has been struck with Eros’ famous arrow and, enraptured with love, is pursuing the nymph Daphne. Daphne has been hit with Eros’ lesser known other arrow, causing her to despise the very thought of love, and has called upon her father, the river god, to transform her into a tree to free her from Apollo’s grasp.

Similarly I recently saw ‘Pygmalion and Galatea’ (below) by Jean Léon Gérôme in Berlin at the 'Neue Nationalgalerie' the painting depicts a moment of metamorphoses. Pygmalion Olio; was the name of a legendary king of Cyprus who fell in love with a statue of Aphrodite, or, according to the Roman poet Ovid, fell in love with an ivory statue of his own making, expressing his ideal woman. The sculptor then prayed to Aphrodite for a wife like the statue, and the goddess accommodatingly brought it to life. Like Bernini’s work Gérôme depicts the moment of transformation.

These two works epitomise my current concerns and reveal the persistent relevance of certain mythological tales and their significance to contemporary life. The tension in the tales of desire vs. repulsion climax in the protagonists metamorphoses. This magical solution reflects our current interest in the ‘make-over’ ideal, this quest for perfection it could be argued is driven by the search for love or approval though ultimately results in potential anxiety and unhappiness. It is in this context that my research continues with elements such as sculpture, drawing, fountains, parks, gardens, public space, memorials, and monuments leading me to research and create new projects.


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