Faces and Masks

I am asked a lot about themes in my work and one of my themes is faces and masks. I use both words interchangeably since your face can be a mask and a mask can become your face.

The first thing we see when we meet each other is a face. How that face is presented to us depends on how the person is feeling. You may see a happy face, a sad face or an angry face etc. Most people put their best face forward. If they are having unpleasant feelings, they’ll put the mask on, the face that is just a presentation to the world, so the face becomes a mask, and the mask, their face.

It’s a survival mechanism that we all use. We don’t necessarily want everyone in the world to know how we are feeling. Sometimes we don’t even want people close to us to know.

But how effective is it to wear the mask. Sometimes it is very effective, and feelings are well disguised. Sometimes not so much and the true feelings come piercing through the armour – a momentary flash of weakness or just a vibe that something is not quite right.

Coping with the Holes in My Head, 2014

Off-Kiltered, 2013

It is a literal and figurative thing. We wear our faces as masks to hide our true feelings. We wear masks to hide our true selves like at Halloween and costume parties. I often wonder what is going on behind the exterior presented. Are people dealing with “Holes in their Heads” or feeling “Off-kiltered?”

All this is of interest to me. Mostly we are chameleons, changing to suit our environment. Like the lizards I grew up with that can camouflage to the colours of trees. I am not sure why, but I am always interested in the internal workings of my fellow humans.

See you next time.


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