Lindsey Beal

American, contemporary

Figure #1 from ‘The Venus Series’

2010 Alumitype

Venus Figurines is a term used for small carved female figures found in Europe and the Middle East from the Upper Paleolithic era.  They began to be discovered in the late 19th century and discoveries continue to this day.  Little is known about these figurines and it is that lack of knowledge that adds to their mystery.  There remains much speculation and theory: what do they mean, what do they represent?  Their varied traits, sizes and locations have added to this mystery.

These forms continue to intrigue and mystify contemporary viewers.  They have inspired various artists, confounded archeologists and created contradictory theories among historians.  Some feminists have embraced the Venuses, others have rejected them.  Regardless of the varied responses, these figures capture our attention and imagination, as they have mine.

The Venus Series is the artists attempt to re-create the power, mystery and primal beauty these forms have by creating my own figurines that reference autobiography, contemporary culture and history.  These sculptures were made of high-shrinkage flax paper and were then photographed using a 19th century photographic process called wet-plate collodion.  This technique involves coating a non-porous surface with a photosensitive emulsion and exposing it to light while the plate is still wet.  This process allowed me to re-interpret yet still convey the luminosity, beauty and drama of the original Venus figurines.

Gift of the Artist, 2016.7