‘Hecate (She that Rises and Sets by Night)’ by Sarah Boyce
Artist: Sarah Boyce
Title: ‘Hecate (She that Rises and Sets by Night)’
Medium: Charcoal and pastel on Strathmore paper
Dimensions: 18″ x 14″
Year of Creation: 2022
About the Artwork:
Hecate is the Greek goddess of night, ghosts, witchcraft, crossroads, and entryways. She is a mysterious and multiform chthonic deity who defies categorization. She is often depicted as triple-faced, holding torches or keys, and accompanied by dogs, though these are just a few of her many attributes or iconic motifs. Hecate is a figure who moves between realms. She functions as protector and guide for the living, or may be associated with curses and the spirits of the dead. Her elusive and sometimes conflicting character especially captures my interest, as I think it reflects a larger idea: that much of human behavior and experience is changeable, complicated, and contradictory.
In this image she is part of the landscape, alluding to her dominion over sky, land, and sea, given to her by Zeus. Beneath her veil is the entry to the underworld, as she is a goddess of entrances and boundaries. Below her mask-like face, the moon and the skull of a dog hint at additional faces. Hecate is described as “garlanded by fearsome snakes that coiled themselves round twigs of oak” in the epic poem, The Argonautica. And since poisonous or medicinal plants were also a close association, belladonna is woven through her crown. The title of the drawing is taken from one of her many epithets, Nyktairodyteira, meaning “night riser and setter” or “she that rises and sets by night”.
About the Artist:
Sarah Boyce (Garlands & Gravestones) is a painter and illustrator from Michigan, living in Washington, DC. Her work explores imagery and folklore related to holidays, the changing seasons, and our relationship to the natural world. With equal interest in classical painting and imagery from popular culture, she is particularly influenced by horror films, Halloween, memento mori artwork, still life painting, and ancient mythology. She received a BFA from Western Michigan University and an MFA from the University of Memphis.