The ancient Greek myth of Zeus disguised as a swan so he can safely rape Leda from Hera's wrath, has been reimagined over many centuries. However, those images whether pruriently imagined or disguised as “divine” sensual rapture, have been from a male perspective until more recently. One of my goals when painting Leda and the Angry Swan was to make “Leda’s eye” the focus of the painting. The viewer cannot escape her gaze and the window to her soul. She is overpowered, not subdued. This Swan–Zeus is not a loving “divine spirit”, but rather a territorial, aggressive being.
In 2004, Ohio based poet, Maj Ragain poetically responded to my painting with his poem, Leda’s Voice, Under Sky, Over Water. My following works have been a response to his poem. The latest Leda painting, What’s This? is a direct response to his opening couplet:
“I lie in the wreckage of my longing
Which called him down to me.”
"What’s This? Leda's Voice" envisions the moment just before her violation. I leave it to the viewer to study Leda’s expression and the many narrative characters in the painting to ponder and draw their own conclusions.
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