Medium: Sumi ink on mounted rice paper, mirror
Dimensions: 120 x 180 cm
This painting reimagines the mythical Medusa as a modern-day victim of sex trafficking—a victim, a saint and a martyr. Medusa, a woman of stunning beauty and a virgin priestess in Athena’s Temple, was raped by Poseidon. Instead of recognizing her as a victim, Athena punished Medusa by turning her into a hideous monster, a gorgon, with hairs made of living venomous snakes.
Drue’s Medusa is not ugly—on the contrary. To paint the face, Drue used photos of a beautiful woman she saw on a Russian Brides website—a mechanism for modern-day slavery enabled by modern technology.
Medusa is a martyr and a saint. In Drue’s painting, Medusa’s beauty is a reflection of her inner beauty, and her sad eyes penetrate with knowledge and questions. Her hairs are snake- like, but within them you can feel the fundamental flow of energy and matter, cosmic rays, galaxies and stars exploding into super-novas, and the dark abyss of black holes—all intertwined into the cosmic catastrophe of her betrayal by her patron Athena, the goddess of war and the presumed goddess of wisdom.
A disk of Medusa’s head is cut off from the composition, and thrown at the bottom of the painting, in a reference to Medusa’s eventual fate—being beheaded by Perseus (again with Athena’s help). The place where her severed head used to be is replaced by a mirror—in a reference to the mirror shield of Perseus which he used to kill her, but more importantly—as a call to the viewer for introspection.