Foremost, I am experimenting with painting in a new way by prepping and priming fabric for oil painting. I let the fabric show through in unexpected areas. Sometimes it is left alone, others it is glazed over to form the clothes themselves. This creates an illusion often making it difficult to tell what is actually painted and what is not.
This body of work explores the role of the mask and reverses its purpose. Traditionally, a mask is worn over the face to hide something. This can either be to conceal the wearer’s identity or to cover up unsightly features; however, in my paintings, the mask reveals information instead of hiding it. The masks become representative of the characteristics of the wearer’s soul or personality. Each hints at some inner strength or flaw of the person being depicted, and the traits that were wished to be kept secret are now the focus of the portrait and revealed by the mask.
The old world appearance of each mask is offset by the contemporary garments being worn in the portrait. The high class business attire of the models is disconnected with the ancient and tribal based masks and juxtaposes the primitive with the refined. The concept is to explore the idea that no matter how far society has evolved, the basic instincts and personality traits of ancient cultures still prevail. Archetypes still recur age after age no matter how advanced the society. Ultimately, we have not come as far as we think.
Learn more about Alea Hurst: www.aleahurst.com
Have a beautiful day!