Most abstract artists are political, there is something inherently subversive in defying the expected form of the world we live in. In applying distortions there tends to be a philosophical depth and a reflection on how things may not always be as they appear.
Working as a team with my beloved mom to create an entry for an abstract self-portrait challenge by @juliakponsford was a great way to meditate on the horrors of the Corona virus outbreak and an outlet for our anxiety.
We worked on a series of dystopian masks influenced by the mandatory wear of medical masks in the most populated regions of China to help curb the sickness.
We stuck the masks on an old painting and with pastel color mixes of acrylic, I painted all around them.
We used beeswax crayons which had been in our arsenal since my days in a Waldorf school back in 1994. The side of them is great to pick up textures.
Prior to that, it was necessary to remove some old duct tape on the support we were going to revamp. We collaborated every step of the way, what a joyful moment despite being haunted by a teetering economy, images of streets being sprayed with poison and worse yet, the indifference of the masses cracking beer jokes.
Once removed, I still had to clean up some leftover paper ridges that had stuck to the pale acrylic frames. Mom drew a second generation version of our mask drawing. On the light table, I am about to do the same. Interference or opalescent paint was layered onto the middle frames to harmonise the mid tones.
This is the snapshot we wish to include for the contest, it is still in progress, that is the whole concept. So are we!
The title is Wuhan and it is a mixed media piece.
You can see that mom really used texture in how she layered her self-portrait in the bottom.
Mine is afro-futurism inspired, the bottom of the mouth has been left unresolved to blend into the lighter central colors.
The following video is a great example of the kind of news we gravitate towards in this crisis. I would give it a 94% credibility rating with a soundtrack that would be hard to fake and a good example of the human tragedy that is unfolding. It is obviously not for the faint of heart.
I wanted to blog yesterday but found myself unable to do so. Both of us were paralyzed by the reality.
The masks represent our demeanor, all that is flat about our identity, our indifference, but also a state of empathy exhaustion. They are crystallized in a state of shrieking like the Banshee or Munch's Scream. A redeeming aura of mystery makes them a little bit cheeky in a failed attempt to make what is going on acceptable.
I hope a collaboration is alright for this contest. Thank you for showing interest in our humble studio.