University Museums

Title: Mirror of Venus
Name: Painting
Date: 1997
Medium: Water soluble paints on paper
Dimensions: 46 x 32 in. (116.8 x 81.3 cm)
Classification: Paintings
Credit Line: Gift of the artist. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: U97.148
More Information
Label #1:
The image was created using a stencil and water soluble paints. The center image in dark red is the universal symbol for "female" which is a circle with a cross connected at the bottom.

Label #2: From "Subject to Change" exhibit.
Christopher Allan (American, b. 1946)
Mirror of Venus, 1997
Gift of the artist. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

This bold symbol has multiple interpretations, some of which may be influenced according to the viewer's gender. Does this symbol allude to the power of women, does it threaten the male gender, and do the colors imply a symbolic relationship to the national colors of the United States? This work of art was included in this exhibition as it explores the transformation of people with confident power. When the female symbol is viewed in isolation, it can also serve as a symbol for a solitude existence.
At the time of the creation of this painting, the artist was a visiting artist at Iowa State's University Museums, and served as a curator from the Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, Scotland. As a museum professional who worked primarily with men in Scotland, and with a professional all-women staff at the University Museums, it was speculated that this was a statement on strong-minded women in Iowa.