Conceal/Reveal Series, 2017
The concepts that inspire the figures I make are based on my own readings, experiences, and observations of human behavior. This series started from readings and conversations about “imposter syndrome.” Imposter syndrome refers to the occasions when high achieving people often do not feel deserving of success, promotion or recognition, although they are highly qualified for such. In thinking about how people see themselves and the factors that shape our perceptions of ourselves, I began to observe the ways those perceptions then affect how we project ourselves into the world around us. People carefully construct their external identities based on internal beliefs and processes. Both what a person chooses to reveal and what they choose to conceal exposes information about that person.
Masks are a frequent motif in my work. Masks are tools people have used through history to conceal and reveal aspects of their identities. Though a mask may hide a face, it almost always reveals the wearer’s eyes. The decoration or form of the mask itself can also suggest other information about the wearer. Donning a mask can even alter the psychology of the wearer, allowing them to behave differently than they would without it.
Similarly, sewing is another source of inspiration for the decoration on my figures. Patches are often used to conceal and repair flaws, but they can also be used to signal or add ornamentation. Quilts are whole objects made from many parts. Both of these ideas are rich metaphors for my work in thinking about how people construct identity and perceptions.
These figures have layered surfaces, “skin” worn away to reveal the material beneath. The layers suggest a previous life before they came into the viewer’s presence, a history, which allows viewers entrance into the work and hopefully an experience of their own narratives.
Click image to enlarge and see label information.