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The Global Beings series was inspired by Plato’s Symposium, in which Aristophanes offers a colorful discourse on the origins of human sexuality. Each painting in the series combines actual text from this treatise on Athenian eroticism with wild images of the “androgynes,” literally meaning “menwomen.” The Beings are seen cart wheeling across the canvas, searching, and circling words in an effort to communicate with the viewer.  

The Story
According to the legend, these ancient mythical creatures from which we all originated were beings made up of various combinations of what we today consider “men” and “women.”  Back then, there were in fact three sexes.  There were men stuck together with men, and women stuck with women, and men stuck with women…the union of the two. Each Being was round, his back and sides forming a circle; and he had four hands and four feet, one head with two faces, looking opposite ways, set on a round neck.  The idea behind the three groups was that the all-man-beings were sons of the Sun, and the all-female-beings were daughters of the Earth, and the half-and-half-beings were the children of the Moon.  Zeus became angry with them when they tried to take over heaven and decided to punish them by cutting them in half, thus making them weaker.  From then on, each half has forever sought out it’s other half or soul mate.

..[Zeus] said: "Methinks I have a plan which will humble their pride and improve their manners; men shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two and then they will be diminished in strength and increased in numbers; this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They shall walk upright on two legs.... After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one ....”

“Each of us when separated... is always looking for his other half. Men who are a section of that double nature which was once called Androgynous are lovers of women... the women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have female attachments; the female companions are of this sort. But they who are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they hang about men and embrace them, and they are themselves the best of boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature.”



Lyn Ainsworth | Antonio Carreño | Celeste Fichter | Gregory Forstner | Jason Florio | Jim Knight | Jill Nathanson | Julia Nitsberg | Kerstin Roolfs | Andrea Sanders | Sylvia Schuster | David Stern | Robert Stivers | Phyllis Trout | Paul Vickery


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