Blind Venus (Venus ex Machina Part 2 of 3)

Nicole Lasquety
3 min readJan 3, 2024
“Blind Venus”, VenusxMachina series part 2 of 3, F[R]ICTIONAL series, Oil on canvas, 18" xc 24", 2024

“Social media will tempt you to think you can (or need to) be omniscient, omnipresent, omnicompetent — in short, that you can be like God. Watch out: that’s the serpent’s oldest move” .- Matt Smethurst

Part 2: Omniscient

The mythical Venus which presents itself in different eras and cultures has become so universal as the representation of ideal feminine beauty. Ever since the name was given to the prehistoric Venus of Wilendorf, the idea has stuck around that artists must give form to beauty even as her image has evolved over time with the changing trends of conventional beauty and developments in art.

In this painting the Venus I chose is Venus de Milo, the depiction of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. Yet here she is blindfolded from the very ideals she is meant to represent. Rather than casting her own shadow, Venus casts a reflection on water in the shape of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, knowledge that humanity wasn’t prepared for. On top of her head is a black apple, completely rotten away, representing the eventual death as a consequence for eating the forbidden fruit. The reflection on water also alludes to the story of Narcissus who, being unable to break his gaze at his reflection turned to stone, just as this Venus is made of stone. It raises the question of what he saw in himself, if there was anything otherworldly, that he was rendered lifeless.

This calls to mind what one contestant of America’s Next Top Model said of another contestant, “Sometimes I feel like when you’re talking to her, she’s not really making eye contact. She’s trying to see her reflection in your eyes”. It seems like a ridiculous and extreme description of self-absorption, yet it is not unlike Narcissus for whom it is as if by seeing himself, he is unable to see the world and people around him.

In a paradoxical way, knowledge or vision can make us ignorant and blind to other things, from the allure of temporal things to the things that outlast us. Someone once said, “We do not live in a meritocracy but a measure-autocracy where we conflate what we can measure like status, wealth, achievements, and external things with values”.

It’s as if by seeing himself, he is unable to see the world around him. Social media will tempt us to think that we can or need to be omniscient for the sake of manufacturing and maintaining an image or see how we fare in comparison to others. We see our own beauty only as relative to that of others rather than seeing each one as beautiful in their own right. Yet playing the comparison game can be hard to quit because it gives us an illusion of control that so long as we can measure the ideal we want to achieve, even though it seems unattainable and probably not for us, at least we think we know what we want. Sometimes we are better off not knowing others’ business, lest we view others as an extension of our image and live off of validation as if it were the proof of our worth and a substitute for belongingness.

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Excerpt: F[R]ICTIONAL is an exploration of subverted narratives and alternate interpretations, mythology, and counter mythology, where fiction meets friction.

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Nicole Lasquety

A visual artist and writer with a passion for media exploration, where big ideas are commonplace. Art, theater, personal essays. lasquetynicole@gmail.com