Review: Mask, print exhibit displays creativity

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Leah Budson” align=”alignright” width=”200″] Sophomore Molly Dalzell views the masks in the exhibit at the Newton Free Library. Students’ work will be on display until January.

by Leah Budson
Masks and prints scattered throughout display cases in the second floor Teen Gallery at the Newton Free Libraryshowcase student talent with their unique techniques and themes.

Made by last year’s art major I’s, the masks’ subjects vary from candy to tree spirits. Some could be functional as a mask, with windows for the eyes and mouth, while many others, such as “Hand and Face” by sophomore Perry Miller, are more abstract.
The prints in the exhibit also vary in theme with subjects such as butterflies and human faces.
The contrast between the solid black night sky and the blue and orange ocean of sophomore Katerina Shirokova’s print is particularly powerful. Beautifully drawn waves add a whimsical element to the piece, matching the moon’s blue and orange streaked pattern.
Sophomore Katie Shi’s mask, “Fire,” stands out with its burnt-paper mouth and skillfully sculpted inflamed eyes. Scraps of paper, burnt at the edges, are used as teeth with eyebrows made of matches and yellow sculpted flames surrounding the eyes, standing out against the red face. The usage of everyday materials in addition to sculpting and painting helps bring the piece to life.
Junior Sophie Sokolov’s mask is incredibly unique. Instead of using the egg-shape of most masks, Sokolov’s mask resembles a collage of the human face. Clay for the nose and forehead is sculpted to resemble leather. Sokolov’s work is so skillful that it is easy to mistake the clay for actual leather.
A realistically painted eye and mouth peek out from behind the ceramic leather imitation, standing out as the only human traits of the piece. A metallic foil replaces the mask’s second eye while curlicues of wire explode from the forehead as hair. With her patchwork combination of man-made materials and the human face, Sokolov hints at humans’ dependency on technology.
The striking yellow gaze of sophomore Caryn Sherbet’s mask is sure to catch viewer’s eyes. The mask shows a human face painted with a design resembling “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh, with the star-colored eyes contrasting against the dark blues of the scene.
“I have a love/hate relationship with masks, just like I do with every project I do. They’re really difficult because it can take weeks for me to get one little part right, which is insanely frustrating. But, they’re also really cool because you get to be even more creative with them.”
Sophomore Spencer Bronk’s mask showed a person with two faces, each a different color, representing a good side and an evil side.
“The mask was inspired by a character I’ve written about, Liandorna, who splits into two people, an evil, cursed side and a good, blessed side.”
His use of sculpting to show laugh lines on the good side and frown lines on the evil side help indicate, which side is which. A line of lacing between the two faces creatively indicates the separation between the two faces, while also making the point that a person’s good and evil sides are irrevocably tied together.
Bronk said the best part of the process was “starting with a lump of clay and creating something beautiful or at least something that I’m proud of.”
Each mask and print in the exhibit showcases unique techniques and diverse subjects, making the exhibit definitely worth visiting.