The Mask and the Theater of Anthropology
A look into the language of display, the construction
of knowledge, and the lure of the wonderous.
An investigation of concealment and exposure in the environment of psychological space. This work explores the mask as a symbol, a sculptural object, a cultural icon, and as a device used to transform ones identity. The mask-wearer is both concealed and liberated, their identity obfuscated and replaced by an unfamiliar external persona. But a mask is not a new skin; rather, it is an anonymous, psychological space to experience a separate state of being -- a non-person, a non-human, an alternate self.
The Theater of Anthropology
An examination of the language of display and its ability to validate and construct imagined realities. This work is informed by several conventions of display: the museum diorama, the 'Cabinet of Curiosity', and the paper-theater. Within the structure of a display case, objects inside act as ambassadors of forgotten and unknown worlds. Plucked from their original contexts, displayed objects, artifacts, and remnants are themselves vessels, containing present but obscure traces of their own histories. But when viewing these objects, we cannot fully decipher their histories, and are instead compelled to create new contexts -- assign imagined, constructed worlds to the objects we view before us. Thus, the conventions of display add truth to our fantasies and represent a longing to encounter places, moments, and worlds we have never seen. The paper-theater is similar in that it presents a multifaceted logical environment, which exists outside the rules of physical scale; the paper-theater is both a micro and macrocosm, and this ambiguity leads the its subject matter towards realms of the surreal and the fantastic.
diorama, drawing, sewn masks, photography, print and mixed-media
Images below with slide information • click to enlarge