4. Liam Corcoran

As an artist I don't have a fixed system or way of painting. How the painting is made is what the painting is about. The Medusa story created the impetus for this particular work.

In his essay, The Horror of Mimesis, David Young Kim explores how the Renaissance practice of dissecting corpses helped conceive of a realistic, representational or “mimetic” style of painting—the style associated with European painting since 1500. Kim discusses a painting called The Head of Medusa by an unknown Flemish artist. Depicting a severed head, the work reflects both a thorough knowledge of human anatomy and also the horror of the dissection which made this knowledge possible. Beginning in the 1500s, Europeans began dissecting other bodies, not just dead ones—through imperialism and colonization. The complete surrender to dissection made Europeans a bit like the severed head in The Head of Medusa, a deadly weapon, separated from its body.

My purpose in this work is not to reject dissection outright, but to call attention to this “head-over-heart” approach to existing in the world separate from other human beings—and separate from the body that makes up all of us and that we all share here on Earth.