This painting just found a home in NYC! It is from my current period, and I once described it in artspeak to a gallerist like this: “This painting, in a sense, is an abstracted metaphor about shifting personas everyone has, and which we choose to present to the world. It is deeply nuanced with rich textures and atmospheric layers of paint. In many areas, the morphing concentric circles made out of gels are transparent and reveal visual information like looking through a tidepool. This piece has a strong visual and conceptual impact.”
A funny story about Mask!, it had been on display at my old clothing company’s showroom and an even larger painting hanging above it fell on it and caused an expressive red streak from the chin diagonally down through the hip. From the front it looked deliberate, but from the back it looked as if someone gashed it with the claw end of a hammer. Really violent looking, like a violation. So this brought to mind two things. One is the role gravity plays in my work. A lot of my ground building work (ground in painting parlance means the ‘background’ or surface or underpainting you are prepping to work upon) involves gravity - natural processes - in the sense I apply lots of thin layers of paint and observe and adjust how they drip and interact. So a painting of mine that falls and scars another one didn’t upset me, particularly because it looked good.
The second thing it brought to mind was the violence of the gesture in relation to the figure in the painting. The red streak aligns with the gravity process, and maybe the violence finds its own alignment too, but not with process but subject. Someone said Isn’t that misogynistic, putting that [textured concentric circles] over the face? I said No it’s a mask, but to them it wasn’t, it was a defacement (no pun intended), an erasure, an insult. Pushing further, the painting was seemingly attacked (albeit by another painting)! Other comments that have come up involve exoticism and fashion, al la Gustav Klimt. Opened ended reads - the power of art is a magical thing, and the converse.