Friday, September 23, 2011

Masks: Artists define masks in the upcoming Target Gallery exhibition

“How an artist chooses to explore the expression of identity through a mask, what form that mask takes, and the potential impact of expression on both the wearer of the mask and the viewer are the parameters that define this exhibition.” Brittany Yam, juror

Exhibition dates: October 1-30; reception October 13, 6-8pm with gallery talk at 7pm
Special Programming: October 6; 6-8pm; Mask making workshop with lecture and reception
Location: Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street, Alexandria, VA
Open daily 10-6pm and until 9pm on Thursdays

 Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Target Gallery presents “Masks” an exhibition that explores the roles of masks and the presentation of individual identity.  The exhibition opens on October 1 and runs through October 30. A reception on October 13 to meet the artists and the juror will be from 6-8pm with a gallery talk at 7pm. Special programming includes a free mask making workshop and lecture during Mental Health Awareness week on October 6, 6-8pm. Art therapist group, Creative Wellbeing Workshops, will lead this event and it is in partnership with The Friends of the Torpedo Factory Art Center and Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria.

Out of 197 artists who entered “Masks” only 21 artists made the cut. The artists selected are from across the country including two international artists as well.  The work ranges in media from painting, mixed media, photography, and sculpture. Artists approached the theme in literal and conceptual ways.  A few of the artists are considering the idea of masks in a socially conscious way, examples include, local Alexandria artist, Suzanne Vigil’s “Thelma and Louise” a color pencil drawing, depicting two drag queens and Pennsylvania artist Andrew Findley’s mixed media piece, “Man’s Best Friend” which depicts a man and his dog wearing gas masks while out on a casual stroll.  Some of the work takes on a mysterious psychological approach to the theme as can be seen in Kentucky artist, Mare Vacarro’s digital C print, “Marital Hiss V”, which depicts a female with Alopecia wearing what appears to be a wedding veil placed against a deep burgundy backdrop.

The juror for this exhibition is Brittany Yam, former gallery director with Project 4 in Washington DC.  In Yam’s juror statement, she explains that her direction for this exhibition focused primarily on “The relationship between the concept of a mask and a person’s identity emerged.” She goes on to state, “Depending on the context of the environment, an individual may choose to highlight or present certain characteristics as a way to express a connection to a community or make themselves distinct from a group.” Yam will be present during the reception on October 13 and will speak at 7pm about her selections and the direction she chose for the show.

The entire exhibition will be online beginning October 1 at