Art Show – Rebecca Willhoft

Painting of a heroic woman with a sward.

The relationship between a mythological figure and a comic book character lies in the idea of an archetype. There are at least two ways to define archetypes, in terms of psychology and literature. Both are valid in their own fields and there is a great deal of crossover.  The Swiss psychologist Carl Jung said “Archetypes are primordial images that reflect basic patterns that are common to use all and which have existed universally since the dawn of time.” Another useful way  to look at this is through the lens of the literary archetype as defined by Northrop Frye: “a symbol, usually an image, which recurs often enough in literature to be recognizable as an element of one’s literary experience as a whole.”

For my purpose, I find these archetypal images in the works of Old Master’s and comic books and combine them into one image. Here is a small list:

Titian’s Prometheus Batman
John Singer Sargent’s Madame X Wonder Woman
Anonymous Wall Painting of the Egyptian god HorusHawkman
Anonymous Stone Carvings Shiva MaheshvaraGreen Lantern
Leonardo daVinci’s Anatomical and Machine DrawingsCyborg

 I have just touched lightly on what is potentially an endless list. Popular culture continuously mines archetypal stories and characters to fill our current fictions.

Finding these unlikely matches involves assimilating and combining images and ideas from different eras in art history, cultural traditions, beliefs, and practices giving them new meaning.

The gods, kings and heroes of our collective history are remade into ordinary people who have extraordinary abilities, often through the invention of technology.

This show will run from 29 March through 26 May. The artist reception is Sunday, 7 April at 12:30.

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