Phoebe Stannard (b. 1987) studied Fine Art at Norwich School of Art and Design, specialising in painting. While in Norwich she made her first medal, for the BAMS Student Medal Project. After graduating in 2008, she moved to London, and worked for a while in the Department of Coins and Medal at the British Museum, which confirmed her interest in medal making. She was chosen as New Medallist for 2009-10, for which see her article in the Autumn 2011 issue of The Medal. She recently completed a two-year postgraduate course in drawing and printing at the Prince’s Drawing School in London.
The artist writes: ‘Minotaur is one of a series of three medals inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Myth and legend are distillations of complex meaning and emotion and provide a compendium of beautiful characters to reason with. I was particularly touched by a version of the myth where the Minotaur dreams, and in his dreams is able to talk, but when he wakes cannot express himself anymore. This Minotaur embodies everyone’s occasional groping failure to communicate and the inarticulate limits to brute strength. I think that most people, if provoked and trapped, easily revert back to their animal nature. I pity the Minotaur, trapped in the labyrinth. He is caged and misunderstood, but also tied to his own animal instincts. There is a ring through his nose and a rope that runs over to the back of the medal. As you turn the medal over in your hand, you realise that he is tied to his destiny, just as Theseus is by his golden thread, down which he will come through the labyrinth to slaughter the Minotaur. I think that humanity always tends to destroy what it cannot understand and what it feels threatened by, rather than trying to understand. We are more animal than we like to think.’