Many times I create artwork first and discover
layers of complexity after the work has been completed. This image helped
me make some discoveries. At first I introduced the white mask to a figure
shoot in progress, like I do with other props. It wasnt until I
began to prepare this caption that I realized all the wonderful details
and important meanings of the mask.
The mask is not only useful to humans. Almost all mammals, birds, and
insects have evolved camouflage abilities that mask, disguise, alter,
or change their appearance. Even the venus fly trap shows that plants
get into the act. My point is that masks are not only human design, but
an all-important component of nature.
For humans, the masque has been explored in worldwide cultures since the
beginning of time. Today, with modern technology, we create synthetic
plastic masks for events like Halloween or Mardi Gras. In addition, technology
has led to many forms of cosmetic surgery that can be considered a type
of mask. Military applications of camouflage use stealth technology for
the same reasons as animals. Subsequently, a broad interpretation of the
mask is so connected to our identity that it permeates almost every aspect
of our lives. The mask is the ultimate "skin" because it can
be chosen, altered, and changed at will. I realize that we all wear a
mask all the time. Every time we are type-casted, described by someone,
generalized, categorized, dressed up in makeup or clothing, reality is
reduced to one or more levels of our mask; our ability to alter identity.