The Mortal Gorgon Medusa
Shellac and silver ink on prepared paper
80 x 50" SHEET
According to the ancient Roman poet Ovid, Medusa was a beautiful woman raped by Poseidon in a temple dedicated to Athena. Angered by the defilement of her temple, Athena victimized Medusa again by transforming her into a monster. Beltz’s large-scale drawing proposes a contrasting version of this familiar, snake-haired Gorgon. Here, she is reenvisioned as an abstract, ethereal creature made up of the beauteous bounty of nature. Closer inspection reveals she is composed of potent plants used to cure ailments or induce hallucinogenic states in shamanic practice: poison oak, datura, milkweed, castor, morning glory, mint, and poison hemlock. These helpful, once well-used, plants are now frequently overlooked (relegated to the category of weeds), though they grow abundantly in interstitial sites throughout this region.
b. United States, 1975
BELTZ, Eric and b. United States, 1975, “BELTZ, Eric,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed October 7, 2022, http://art-collections.museum.ucsb.edu/items/show/4486.