Venus vs Eve? Body image, food and art

Food for Life is happening tomorrow in Melbourne which aims to raise money for Learning for Life and my (small) contribution was to paint some banners to convey body image.

Where better to start exploring body image and healthy body, healthy mind than the two origins of the female ideal – Venus and Eve?

These are my naive painting efforts depicting the two imagined forms. I haven’t attempted to copy the extraordinary Boticelli! especially as I had to get these painted vite vite and they’re on unprepared cloth which is super thirsty! Always fun though to paint something big (they’re about 2m tall).

Eve is a bit of a recurring theme for me, perhaps because I’ve always related to her as earthy and visceral, vulnerable and real. (Some other posts on Eve are here and here..)

Venus is an ethereal embodiment of womanhood. For me she is the unattainable imagining of feminine perfection, not something I can begin to know.

And yet today even this would not be adequate as Benjamin Starr describes in his post on Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordanoin’s  Venus project, which takes the Rubenesque Venus and applies an airbrush to render them ready for today’s market. Starr rightly points to the bombardment of these Barbie forms in our daily lives over the generous beauty captured in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Perhaps even I have created more ‘accepted’ ideas of body forms here … the reason to find true models for my work next time.

The cauliflowers are just here because they were sitting as if ready arranged for a still life in Coles – of all places – and you don’t see that everyday.

I suspect the hand of an artist at work.

Learning for Life Autism Centre is a not for profit organisation that provides intensive, early intervention programs to pre-school children with an autism spectrum disorder.

The organisation, instigated by superbly, wonderful, real woman Mary Muirhead, is dedicated to making programs accessible to families who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

You can read about the organisation’s work and their other fund raising activities on their website – of course.



4 thoughts on “Venus vs Eve? Body image, food and art

  1. These are all wonderful efforts for a good cause! I think Starr is right and cannot imagine how it is for a girl to grow up in today’s ‘Barbized’ (I made this word up) society. But I like your Venus & Eve – who doesn’t like something beautiful?!


  2. What a beautiful Eve, lovely work Chas. Talking of Eve’s, I’ve just painted a miniature of Wayan – not sure what it is in cms but it’s 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches so very tiny! My original canvas was huge, about 3ft x 3ft but I suddenly got stage fright so decided to go titchy instead! I will finish the large one when I’ve got more time. I really love your paintings, keep up the great work Sister! XXX


    • Hiya L – thank you m’dear. Yes I would love to step up to a large canvas but talk myself down pretty easily – ‘the paint will be too expensive, I’ll stuff up the perspective, it’s too hard to get a canvas that big on the train…’
      Agree on the stage fright – like jumping naked into a cold river… but we should be brave … one, two, three GO ..’perhaps I’ll get over my cold first..’


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