Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours




Australian art

Contemporary art

View More:


Venus variations #2, from the series The Venus variations



Deborah Kelly


1962 -


In the 'Venus variations' series Kelly has created hybrid collages of famous images of Venus, the roman goddess of love, with contemporary images of female bodies from high fashion amongst other sources. Venus was not just the goddess of love, but also embodied sexual desire and beauty in an idealised form, and was much favoured by artists throughout history as a reason to paint female nudes in erotic poses. Kelly has sourced pre-roman images such as the Venus of Willendorf which offer other views of the female body as a fertility goddess, as well as such famous images as Giorgione's 'Sleeping Venus' 1510 and Titian's 'Venus of Urbino' 1538. In one of Kelly's versions, two Venuses intertwine in an erotic embrace which engenders a flowering tree; in another a woman from a retro high fashion image looks in a compact while a snake entwines around her body. Kelly both embraces the eroticism of the original images while suggesting other ways of viewing these art works in which woman are in control of their representation, their bodies and how and whom they desire. The male gaze becomes irrelevant in her whimsical and fantastic re-thinkings of classic art works, giving them a new life in our current moment.


Other Title

Intransigence of Venus #4



Media category


Materials used

collage of book and magazine cuttings on paper


31.0 x 22.0 cm sight; 41.3 x 31.6 x 2.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r., pencil "DK/ Deborah Kelly/ 2014".


Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2016


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Deborah Kelly

Works in the collection


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


Fiona McGregor and Lee-Anne Hall, Deborah Kelly: bodies of work, Penrith, 2015.