Marla McGill

Book of Masks, Marla McGill, Mixed Media

Artist Statement:

My project looks at concealed emotions and the mask that everyone wears in their everyday lives, hiding certain aspects of themselves from the sights of others. While the reason for this may vary by the individual, I have come to notice that I personally hide emotions I had deemed ‘weak’, to the point where my general behavior can be negatively impacted. Such was the case when I first thought up the idea for this project last term when I was under a fair bit of stress, and felt scared and depressed. As I failed to vent these emotions I eventually started sleeping more, isolating myself further from my friends, and snapping at people.

While this project is personal to me, an almost therapeutic way to remove my own mask, I feel as though others can relate this to their own lives to some extent as it seems like everyone has certain parts of themselves they hide for their preferred public images. Even though other forms of self-representation such as in photographs, self-portraits of even when we look at ourselves in the mirror it seems there is always some way we expect ourselves to appear and how we try to make ourselves appear.

The piece is digitally painted and printed out on transparent sheets which are bound together and layered upon one another like a book. I encourage viewers to flip through as they please as this will change what text is legible and the images visible. In flipping the pages the viewer adds or removes pieces of the mask while uncovering more behind it, it is for this reason that I chose to have the images form a facial silhouette. The text is my own condensed ‘rantings’ trying to reason with myself about the way that I act. The backlighting used makes this text more visible while making the images pop out more. As far as the images go, I chose the colors for each picture based on what I thought was suitable for the particular emotion I was attempting to portray and in some cases I tried to use colors which were psychologically connected to the certain emotions, though some of the sources I found were conflicted on this. I enjoyed working with transparency in my previous pieces which is why I decided to carry that on into this project. I was always interested in digital painting as well, however I never did very much of it in my time at university so I finally decided to pursue this avenue of interest in my final work at the school.

Marla McGill