Dec 12 2008

Katabatic Goddess

Published by at 7:09 pm under Uncategorized

This is Kevin! To view the piece go to my blog at:

             In my project I wanted to visually represent Katabasis through the use of allegory. The theme of katabasis would be expressed visually through the use of symbols and elements that are often associated with the journey. I like to think of it as a visual worldcloud for katabasis.
              Inspiration for the drawing came from many sources. Religious art, symbols, and icons from different cultures were fused together to create a fabricated deity that embodied katabasis. For example, the goddess figure in the drawing is a nod towards Hinduism, the woman’s multiple arms allude to Shiva, the destroyer and his wife Devi; the feather is an Egyptian symbol for judgment, and the burqas that make the water are icons of middle eastern cultures as well as a symbol of oppression, freedom, and the Islamic religion, I’d also like to point out that the room that we studied in was very much an inspiration for this drawing.
         Yet another source that I drew from is one of my favorite artists, Gustav Klimt. His work was inspired by the beauty and sensuality of women as evidenced both in his stunning portraits of Adele Bloch-Bauer and Emilie Floge, and in his enigmatic depictions of mythological femme fatales in works such as Judith and Danae. Gustav Klimt was a highly controversial figure in his time. His paintings provoked violent reactions and were often branded as ‘obscene’ by the conservative majority in Vienna. The richness of form, the vivid juxtaposition of colors and the rich symbolism and eroticism made his art some of the most significant paintings of the 19th and early 20th centuries. 
I find Klimt’s art to be highly katabatic. His paintings show a cycle of life, death, growth, love, sexuality and rebirth for the female figure. I wanted my project to reflect the female subject and the use of symbolic representation used by Gustav Klimt.  While this drawing nothing compared to the paintings of Gustav Klimt, I believe that encompasses many of the themes and issues our class covered this semester.

      While the symbols in this drawing can be interpreted by the viewer in any way, these are my interpretations of them:

– Four arms – alludes to Hinduism; signifies the power of women
– Braided Hair – not being completely free; oppression
– Blind – spiritual blindness; not being illuminated
– Feather – judgement; justice; weighing the soul
– Fire – destruction and thus rebirth/renewal
– Serpent – many interpretations of death, deception, divinty etc.
– Ravens – loss, death and war; a guide
– Birds – the human soul; joy, wisdom
– Butterlies- linked to death and the soul
– Clouds – fertility, bliss; gloom, obscurity, depression.
– Ocean/water – mind, depth, a dive into the soul; exploring the self
– Burqa – oppression, liberation, love of god; no identity
– Octopus – goal of the journey; change, fluidity
– Trees – creation, the earthly world

One response so far

One Response to “Katabatic Goddess”

  1. agmjon 13 Dec 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Gorgeous photos of your project, Kevin!!! A very impressive final project–let me know if you are ever interested in selling the piece.