Thursday, 30 May 2013

Masked Intentions: He Made She Made

Matt Preisz & Lulu Ruttley, Elvis
Masked Intentions
21 Artists reinvent 21 Masks for the 21st Centuary

He Made She Made: May 22 - June 9, 2013

  1. mask  

    A covering for all or part of the face, in particular.
    Cover (the face) with a mask.
    noun.  disguise - vizard - guise - visor - vizor - masque - veil
    verb.  disguise - conceal - hide - camouflage - veil - cloak

(L-R) Ray Ray, Lady Roaccutane; Swayze, MS DOOM; Kitiya Palaskas, The Gypsy Crow
Masks, by their very nature, conceal, disguise, reinvent and camouflage. The 21 artists in the latest exhibition at He Made She Made attempt to reinvent this idea giving purpose and concept to the masked identity. At times fanciful, terrifying, beautiful and audacious, the masks on display each bring with them a different purpose and meaning. The Candleman by Oscar Casas reflects the chronic sleep deprivation and recurring nightmares he suffered from as a child. With such villains as Michael Myers, Leather face and Leslie Vernon interrupting his sleep, this mask attempts to frighten his own subconscious. The Candleman, a clever play on the 1992 film Candyman, is a hideous apparition yet also a source of light in the dark.

Eduardo Wolfe-Alegria's Oceanid is a ritual mask traditionally worn by a shamanic figure and is said to give whoever wears it insights into the subconscious terrain. According to legend the mask was found in the ocean within in scallop shell and is said to carry with it the powers of the deep sea. The mask is at once terrifying and awe inspiring. It is not difficult to imagine it's magical qualities.

It is fascinating to see how each artist has interpreted the idea of the mask. From global warming to Sigmund Freud and the digital age, far reaching topics are covered and put into practice. Curatorially, I really liked the combination of the physical masks with the stunning large format prints, it demonstrates that a mask is simply an interesting object until it's worn and then is takes on a life of its own, a purpose, a defining moment and an overarching significance.   

Oscar Casas, The Candleman

Eduardo Wolfe-Alegria, Oceanid

Benja Harney, The Id

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