Masks: A Ramble

What am I trying to bring out with my mask series? I have been working on mask drawings since the end of last summer. Very intensely in the winter. I'm not sure I understand what I'm doing yet.

I've organized my mask drawings into three series: Overlay, Cathartiae, and Trance Formations. Overlay explores the idea of masks that hide, masks that act as a container for the etherity of the inner being to be expressed concretely in a social world. Cathartiae explores the use of masks to bring out aspects of being that are normally hidden. To give expression, exorcise, heal. Trance Formations explores a similar use of masks, to bring to light not the deep, dark currents from within, but divine energies that cannot be contained in "normal" consciousness. Some of the masks in this series attempt to give face to modes of consciousness that we rarely have access to. The slow, almost static (from our perspective) awareness of rocks; the ecstasy of the explosions at the beginnings of (this) universe. I feel that talking with (so-called) "inanimate" objects is a matter of staring long and hard; reflecting a shape, a massiveness, a slow change of color, into (or onto) a layer of our own consciousness: an empathic mode of communication, you might venture to say. Trance Formations is still a work in progress. Some of the pictures in this series will appear in this show, but I'm not sure when.

"Wild Desert Flowers"

Walking lightly
through sounds of dark
and cover. Dry river running;
layered gneiss wall echoes
walk and simple song.

Sandstone formations
blooming wild
like desert flowers --
sudden, and
not too often.
May 1992

Some buzzwords:

          Persona                               Personality

                   Masquerade              Face  
            Masque             Makeup

         Projection                        Extraction

Wear a mask all the time. This is how we, as fragile beings, are even able to live in this world. Persona is a necessity. We wear different masks at work, with children, with our families, SOs.

Even in deepest meditation it is very difficult (not to mention dangerous) to completely drop "the mask." There are many masks that arise even in that context: "I have reached bliss!" "I AM yogi (&you ain't?)." These are a couple of masks I found myself wearing after practicing yoga & meditation for years.

Many indigenous cultures use masks to bring out parts of being that aren't usually acceptable in "societal" life. (need a good pithy Joseph Campbell quote here, n'est-ce pas?). To bring out divine energies in a ritualistic context. Energies that would tear apart the life of any individual on a day-to-day basis.