FLAT GRAPHIC SPACES BY MICHAEL REEDER

by Ariadna Zierold

michael reeder, portrait, portraiture, colorful, bold, realism, flat, graphic, faces, masks, upper playground

Check out the new work by Michael Reeder (previously featured here). Centered on portraiture, Reeder’s current body of work seeks to make a direct connection with the audience. This connection encourages viewers to bring their own perceptions, imagination, and vision to light alongside his.

michael reeder, portrait, portraiture, colorful, bold, realism, flat, graphic, faces, masks, upper playground

Throughout his work, realism is mixed with flat graphic space, and themes or motifs of identity, ambiguity, and ego are loosely implied. The convergence of infinite space and the figure highlights the realm of contemplation located between the conscious and the subconscious mind.

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ANTHROPOMORPHIC SYMBOLISM BY HANNAH YATA

by Ariadna Zierold

hannah yata, painting, surreal, landscape, nature, culture, masks, environment, detailed, symbolism, upper playground

Hannah Faith Yata was born and raised in a small town in Georgia. She is half Japanese and Caucasian. She grew up with a deep love of nature and animals passed down by the beautiful surroundings in the country and her mother. As a young adult, she studied feminism, psychology, and art in college.

hannah yata, painting, surreal, landscape, nature, culture, masks, environment, detailed, symbolism, upper playground

In her own work, Yata seeks to interweave political ideas, (using nature, women, and feminism almost synonymously), environmental degradation, and themes of moral injustice into increasingly chaotic paintings. She uses masks from a mix of other cultures to speak to the different relationships that native tribes and cultures have with the earth, while giving anthropomorphic qualities and symbolism to the animals to speak their consciousness.

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MASKS BY BERTJAN POT

by Ariadna Zierold

bertjan pot, masks, rope, colorful, upper playground

Dutch designer Bertjan Pot’s masks are the product of a failed material experiment. They are made from a creative happenstance when some rugs made from stitching ropes together “got curvy.”

bertjan pot, masks, rope, colorful, upper playground

“I wanted to find out if by stitching a rope together I could make a large flat carpet. Instead of flat, the samples got curvy. When I was about to give up on the carpet, Vladi came up with the idea of shaping the rope into masks. The possibilities are endless, I’m meeting new faces every day.” Bertjan Pot

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HAND-STITCHED PHOTOGRAPHS BY REBECCA CHEW

by Ariadna Zierold

rebecca chew, hand stitched, photography, luchadors, masks, upper playground

Art director, graphic designer, and illustrator Rebecca Chew gives a hand-made look to traditional magazine spreads. She studied graphic design in Malaysia, under a program run by Nottingham Trent University. While there she fell in love with the printmaking studio and the darkroom. Throughout her career she has returned to the process of stitching, most notably creating vibrant masks inspired by the headwear of Mexican luchadors.

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DISGUISE: MASKS AND GLOBAL AFRICAN ART

by Ariadna Zierold

disguise, masks, african, art, brooklyn, upper playground

Disguise: Masks and Global African Art connects the work of twenty-five contemporary artists with historical African masquerade, using play and provocation to invite viewers to think critically about their world and their place within it. By putting on a mask and becoming someone else, artists reveal hidden realities about society, including those of power, class, and gender, to suggest possibilities for the future.

The contemporary artists featured include Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou (Benin), Nick Cave (U.S.), Edson Chagas (Angola), Steven Cohen (South Africa/France), Willie Cole (U.S.), Jakob Dwight (U.S.), Hasan and Husain Essop (South Africa), Brendan Fernandes (Kenya/Canada/U.S.), Alejandro Guzman (Puerto Rico), Gerald Machona (Zimbabwe), Nandipha Mntambo (South Africa), Jean-Claude Moschetti (France/Benin), Toyin Ojih Odutola (U.S.), Emeka Ogboh (Nigeria), Wura-Natasha Ogunji (U.S./Nigeria), Walter Oltmann (South Africa), Sondra R. Perry (U.S.), Jacolby Satterwhite (U.S.), Paul Anthony Smith (Jamaica/U.S.), Adejoke Tugbiyele (U.S./Nigeria), Iké Udé (U.S./Nigeria), Sam Vernon (U.S.), William Villalongo (U.S.), Zina Saro-Wiwa (U.S./U.K./Nigeria), and Saya Woolfalk (U.S.).

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Masks have long been used by African artists to define relationships―between individuals, communities, the environment, or the cosmos―and, sometimes, to challenge the status quo. However, once masks were removed from their original performance context, they were transformed into museum objects, and their larger messages were often lost.

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