Following the British Museum Exhibition of Scythian Art and Artefacts which I saw in 2017, I have been meaning to apply some of that inspiration to my mask work. I was particularly drawn to the painted funerary masks from the Oglakhty burial site. These extraordinary objects are still attached to the skulls of the individuals for whom they were made. The originals are made of gypsum. The mask of the woman, which is somewhat better preserved, has remained in my consciousness as an inspiration. I recently made a cast of an existing mask of a woman and then realised that there were some similarities between my mask and the Oglakhty mask. I have therefor tried to replicate the painted design from the ancient Scythian mask onto my contemporary version. They are not the same, my mask has the eyes open and the forehead finishes at a hairline rather than lapping over the cranium. The overall proportions are not quite the same.
I have had to improvise and make up details which I cannot see in the source images, especially as some area’s have been damaged. Painting this has given me a greater respect for the Scythian creators and their skill in making the original. I have at present left the paining in this bold state, rather than distress the paint-job to beautify and make it more acceptable to modern audiences. My instinct is to do some subtle shading to enhance the modelling and I am not sure I like my eye lid painting so I think that I will repaint them in the white. I have enjoyed the asymmetry of the design and applying it over the nearly symmetrical face. There is a hypothesis that the painting replicates a tattoo .
Is this character an Amazon, an ancient feminine warrior ? Certainly my original mask was intended to represent the strong mature woman. This being my version of the Artemis archetype (The Huntress).
3RD SPACE Studios Exhibition opening event this evening at 6.00 p.m.
Tope Floor of Surface Gallery upto and including Saturday 11th May
Celebrating our ten years of existence and the ten artists who are current members.
This evening Stephen Jon and his crew shall be performing as ‘The Critics’ and later he will be adding another layer to the large charcoal drawing.
Join him for a Charcoal Drawing workshop next Wednesday 2.00 till 4.00 p.m.
Making ready for the forthcoming exhibition at Surface Gallery and exploring different ways of hanging drawings and sculptures, with regards to the probability that they will get splashed. Lots of fun flinging dirty water about. Studio floor a delightful mess now.
When the Clown meets the Mask ???? ‘PLAY” taking pleasure in an activity.
Saturday 23rd March 2019 at ‘Playworks’ Nottingham
Angela Hayes and Amanda Scofield, who are ‘the red herrings’ joined me, Stephen Jon Mask-Maker to play and share skills and experiences. This is continuing action research into the links between Comedy, Clown and Mask. We invited 11 associates from the physical theatre world to join us in this exploration. We payed specific reference to: Safety and Play: our professionalism and experience makes us safe. The mask and noses contribute by defining the ritualised space/ the play space/ the safe space /the theatrical space, where anything can happen. Ensemble: The Individual and the Herd. Looking at how we establish and maintain trust and awareness of our co-conspirators. So much pleasure in playing in a gang. Character and non-naturalistic theatre. A magnifying glass onto real /authentic expressions of relationships and emotion.
Release Access Pleasure Improvisation Visceral Transgress
Clown Mask Play Embodiment Naivety Freedom
Some of the masks, we used. Noses, Quarter Masks, Half Masks and Full Face Masks
We want to do more of this …….. What will come next ? …….
Maiden (archetype half mask), Madame Pantalona and ‘Arlecchino (Commedia dell’Arte).
Plus working up archetypal Death half mask fun fun time coming up.
Now fully painted and photographed in action
Following last Saturday exploring with professional chums and finding some character within these masks. Looking for the pleasure in our action and finding Play.
Photographs with many thanks to Mark Curwood and for a fun morning of reflection and laughter. To be continued.
Hanging somewhere between Commedia and Clown, the quarter mask is a new direction for me to play with. Looking forwards to trialling it with performers alongside noses.
New Pantalone Mask goes off with a new fried to find a new life and new adventures.
It may be that I have finished the Willow Pattern Drawing, at least for now. I have started some more circle drawings. ‘Plates’ is the working title for this series. Other words have fallen into my mind as I do this: Tondo, Hole, Eclipse, Oracle, Orbit, Cyclone, Pointe, Full stop, Eye, Sphere. Growth, Wheel, pin-prick. Navel, Breast, Samples……… Working in a variety of scales, still all in charcoal and pushing my current technique of using resists and stencils. Some freehand work to be done.
I do love painting. The Finishing of masks is just about my favourite part of the mask making process. Therefore, now I am setting myself this challenge, to paint for the sake of painting. I shall use this 3D triptych as the blank ground for painting. I just don’t know what it will be, certainly not decorative and not my familiar mask technique of exaggerating the underlying form. So lets see. I have always been particularly impressed by the way in which ceramic artists are able to paint/draw directly onto a 3D surface. And of course, cave painters did the same, on bare rock AND in the dark.