The Artist at Work

The Artist at Work
The Artist at Work

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beauty and Truth in a Mask

Whether you know the origin of the warning to beware of March 15th or not, the day, coming in the middle of a stormy month, carries an ominous and reckless feel. It is a day when anything can happen, and one must be watchful for the unexpected, glancing over the shoulder, on the lookout for mishap and betrayal.

On a day like this, a mask would come in handy. Though we often associate masks with dishonesty and think of them as props used to hide our true selves, they have more power than mere subterfuge.  I think on the Ides of March, the common conception should be reversed. So I'm declaring the 15th of March to be Mask Appreciation Day.

There's a sense in which a mask can be liberating. Crafted or chosen with care and attention to detail, masks allow us a special freedom to be exactly and defiantly who we are . . . in disguise. A creative mask could be the expression of our most daring dream or boldest imagining, offering us the opportunity to recreate and reinvent ourselves, without the trappings of our ordinary "operating personas."

In our darkest moments, when we are most vulnerable, a mask has the power to protect and transform. Marcus knows this from his own experience. Bringing beauty and truth to the surface, he is currently at work creating a mask for the Denver Hospice benefit, The Mask Project. For this project, he will use the watch and sky from How Time Flies as his spring board. We will document his creation here.

"The aim of art," writes Aristotle, "is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." Let's toast to the Ides of March then, and appreciate the power of masks to accomplish the revelation of those inner truths we can not always and readily wear on our faces, but require the bold artistry of a mask to express.

Reflecting on his early intentions with the mask, Marcus writes:

My goal is to refine the watch idea which will center around the left eye. Perhaps a complete watch crying parts that will be flowing over the inner housing, my eye will remain in the center but will look more like Julie Speed's "The Oculist".... The independent eye surrounded by mechanical parts. Tears of Time. The right eye socket on the mask will become a beautiful, tranquil scene offering a feeling of continuation.

Think about how you might create your own mask. Given a blank face, how would you fill it?

1 comment:

  1. I would paint an ostrich head eating the right eye and tear a rolling down the left cheek that turned into a river over the lips.