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ArtistLiz Maw
Production Date2003
Mediumoil on board
Size1800 x 1400 mm
DepartmentNew Zealand Art
Subjectsfigures (representations), female, nudes, handguns, hands
Accession Date24 Sep 2003
Accession NoC2003/1/42
Credit LineChartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2003


Liz Maw perfects noble archetypes: a woman in a suit of armour, a yellow Minotaur with an erection, an Arab soldier with oil miraculously spurting from his palms, and her boyfriend artist Andrew McLeod as a satyr. She paints her beautiful fantasy figures realistically, almost life size, and clear-cut from their backgrounds. She describes them as invented ancestors and icons. Maw's Satan is a blonde bombshell. Half retro pin-up, half retro deity, the dualistic Satan is a comment on Catholicism. Maw calls it a response to the divine impregnation of Mary. The work plays on the traditional duplicity of the femme fatale. Coming at the end of an incongruously elongated, snakelike arm, her left hand repeats the gesture of the disquieted Virgin in Leonardo Da Vinci's Annunciation in the Uffizi. But her right hand holds a gun, almost to her own head as if anticipating suicide (a Catholic no-no), or perhaps to fire on the voyeur-viewer. It's feminism and sexism rolled into one. (Snake Oil, 2005)