Culture Masks, 2015 – 2020
From The Museum Studies Series
Pictures like paintings, paintings like pictures
This series of paintings continues my long-standing involvement in what the critic and painter Stephan Westfall recently referred to as “slow painting.” Slow painting refers to a method of painting production that involves a sustained, concentrated practice which in turn requires a sustained viewing to fully reveal its content and presence, A presence not just as a picture, but as a contemplative, constructed object. In my paintings this only takes place when, and if, the viewer realizes they are in fact hand crafted objects, producing what I hope results in a profound shift in the perception of the painting as an object.
This series of paintings expands my exploration of representing images of artifacts and artworks layered through the system of the museum display. It addresses the visual, conceptual and metaphorical representation of the cross-cultural trope of the mask. The mask becomes a surrogate for the portrait that is depicted through various cultural lenses and histories. In this series the masks serve as a container for archetypes of human nature, such as, the clown, the warrior, the saint, and the demon. They have all been isolated and removed from their original function and context, encased behind protective transparent vitrines. Each is layered, altered and amplified by the institutional display. The captured and constructed image directly acknowledges the source while exploiting a monocular photographic language that includes depth of field and lens flare. Detailed depictions of intricate surface information become tissued with reflections of the vitrine and the museum environment.