:: 2014 :: 75cm x 50cm :: Acrylics, Inks and Markers on Canvas ::
The mythical image of the hero who archetypally subdues the ritual landscape through aggressive action, or who creates an ordered world by wrestling it out of the jaws of a beast of primordial chaos, is common to many cultures emergent from the Hgh Civilisations of the Bronze Age, and figures such as Gilgamesh or Perseus are often upheld as ideals of the masculine. Perhaps the clearest expression of the violence within this mythical image is found in the Greek Bellerophon, whose name may mean 'Killer Of Enemies', and who appears to have no other function than that of prideful subduer.
At this point in my understanding of my masculinity and of my Queer Within, I am coming to reject (or perhaps, surpass) expressions of violence as fundamental to the male, and therefore seeking to transform male-violent mythical images to express something more subtle: Non-Oppositional Masculinity. This is explored more fully in my recent essay Creative Mythology, or Queer Authenticities but briefly, Non-Oppositional Masculinity seeks to conceive of ideals of maleness which are primarily interactive rather than active, engaging and embodied rather than subduing. The accompanying poem to this artwork (below the image) may further elucidate, as does the dual image artwork Dakini-Daemon.
We see here then an image of Bellerophon who, having fallen asleep on the altar of Athene on his way to kill the Chimaera, finds himself dreaming that Athene has sent him a different vision from what he might have expected. Instead of seeing how to kill the Chimaera, his violent masculinity is melting away upon the altar and he begins to merge with the beast: his sword fails him and the only path that lays before him is to accept the chaos within and, rather than subdue it, to interact with it, and thereby become a more mature human being. This is an important call to a deepening masculinity, one which many modern men are failing to heed: as we attempt to emerge into a more beautiful, diverse and egalitarian future, the subversion of Oppositional Masculinities into more interactive forms is, I believe, essential.
...and you, Bellerophon,
...when liquid essence
...when subdued earth,
...when we plant a wild seed
...then, Bellerophon, what image
Working on 'The Dream Of Bellerophon', January 2014