Issue 156 Mary Blair Award Winning Piece
The Anatomical Venus
Hana Lock is a Bay Area visual artist and SJSU graduate who explores the beautifully grotesque nature of life, death, decay, and rebirth through drawings and paintings. She is especially fond of ballpoint pens, watercolors, and acrylics which she uses to create intricate detail and vibrant colors in her art.
See more of Hana Lock’s artwork, including "The Anatomical Venus",
Lacey Bryant's Commentary
In Hana Lock's intricate painting, "The Anatomical Venus", the central figure recalls the didactic pose of a mythological subject, the composition heavy with classical symbolism. Yet it feels fresh in soft hues and flat washes. At first, the viewer is overwhelmed by a large border of flowers around the figure--a nude with an open chest cavity, innards spilling out, exposing the gross stuff of life. The removal of the breast adds a touch of androgyny to this deity of love and desire. In place of the stomach is a green frog, itself a fertility symbol and harbinger of spring and abundance: the cascade of flowers flowing from its mouth feels much like a birth or creative explosion. Venus dances on her own decaying corpse in an allusion to the cycle of life. In a playful detail, a troupe of mice and frogs dance along at her feet as if the goddess has inspired these creatures, agents of both good luck and plague, to join one another in friendship. The mingling of the beautiful with the macabre and grotesque highlights the messiness of life and the sacrifice involved in creation. We do not get life without death.