We asked artist Joan Pope (a.k.a. Temple Ov Saturn) to consider with us, for this issue, the theme of Deliciously Vile Frontiers. Joan is an artist to whom one turns at tipping points of change. This year, 2022, we have felt once again hopes aligning and plummeting across the world. Our chances of surviving the pandemic have increased, only to be faced with man’s endless thirst for war and power. It’s interesting to see what beautiful and uncanny responses have arisen in Joan’s work.
Joan’s surreal and transformative approach to the collage form pushes the boundaries of what’s beautiful and what’s confrontational. In this new work, created for The Demented Goddess, her figures are pushing the frontiers of time, space and landscape. They shift, they drift, they watch. But they also challenge age-old notions of what is beautiful and good. And so we see Botticelli’s Venus made up to razzle dazzle, European peasant women farming what looks like carcasses of plastic bottles, and Death, in a form akin to how he appears in Bergman’s Seventh Seal, floating like Ophelia beneath the pitying hand of a little girl. How far we have progressed is not clear but constant change is inevitable, as is the growing sense of surveillance in the clocks and eyes haunting the worlds of these pictures.