Mask

October 23 - November 28, 2020

Watch David Kennedy Cutler’s performance Changing Room here.

Michael Mahalchick, Chad, Chita, Melanie, Prince Adam, Abigail, Al, Lonnie, Steve, Renee, Red Don, Mrs. Gumb, Lita, Helena, Stu, Gario, Glen, Dino (Chicken), 2020cast painted latex
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Sarah Peters, Portrait of a Boy, 2015bronze7.5 x 6 x 6 inches, 19.05 x 15.24 x 15.24 cm
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Rachel Harrison, untitled, 2010mixed media on wood panel24 x 24 x 1.25 inches, 60.96 x 60.96 x 3.18 cm
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Stacy Lynn Waddell, Untitled (self portrait under COVID 19 quarantine), 2020burned paper with graphite10 x 8 inches, 25.40 x 20.32 cm
Stacy Lynn Waddell, Untitled (self portrait under COVID 19 quarantine with straightened hair ponytail that doubles as a mask), 2020burned paper with graphite10 x 8 inches, 25.40 x 20.32 cm
Stacy Lynn Waddell, Untitled (self portrait under COVID 19 quarantine reflecting on my time as a graduate), 2020burned paper with graphite10 x 8 inches, 25.40 x 20.32 cm
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
David Torres, Enter Sliff's Fortress, 2018digital film, 19:553
David Wojnarowicz, Rimbaud in New York, 1978-79/2004gelatin silver print12.875 x 9.625 inches, 32.70 x 24.45 cm
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Nicole Eisenman, Twelve Heads, 2012Etching and aquatint on Hahnemuhle bright white paper2022.75 x 16.125 inches, 57.79 x 41.47 cm
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Leilah Babirye, Namayanja (Goddess of the River), 2020glazed ceramic, found objects14.5 x 6.5 x 3 inches, 36.83 x 16.51 x 7.62 cm
Leilah Babirye, Nankulu we Kiuga (Mayor of the City), 2016glazed ceramic, wire12 x 6 x 2 inches, 30.48 x 15.24 x 5.08 cm
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Arnold Kemp, INDEX, 2020relief ink on grey/blue handmade wove paper from a late 18th or 19th century paper volume21.5 x 16.5 inches, 54.61 x 41.91 cm
Arnold Kemp, INDEX, 2020relief ink on grey/blue handmade wove paper from a late 18th or 19th century paper volume
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Donna Chung, untitled (face), 2020glass, metal, resin, glazed terracotta10 x 10 x 1.75 inches, 25.40 x 25.40 x 4.45 cm
Sarah Peters, Augur, 2019plaster18 x 18 x 11 inches, 45.72 x 45.72 x 27.92 cm
Demetrius Oliver, Bust, 2004/2020digital video, 3:39
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Amna Asghar, Twenty Nine Weeks to a Fairness like Never Before, 2017acrylic and screen print on canvasdiptych: 20 x 28 inches, 50.80 x 71.12 cm
Trenton Doyle Hancock, Wars and Rumors Thereof, a study, 2016graphite on paper24 x 18 inches, 60.96 x 45.72 cm
David Kennedy-Cutler, Second Skins, 2017-2020 inkjet on cotton and PETG, zipper, Velcro, deconstructed sneakers, performance detritus; Rack: wood, aluminum, hardware, casters. Performed at the gallery on November 21, 2020.outfits: 79 x 22 x 12 inches, rack: 82.5 x 64.5 x 31.75 inches, 209.55 x 163.83 x 80.65 cm
Mask, installation at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 2020
Tamara Gonzales, Midnight Orange, 2020acrylic on canvas24 x 18 inches, 60.96 x 45.72 cm

Press Release

Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery is pleased to present a show spotlighting Masks in the practices of 15 contemporary artists.  Masks protect and pervert, decorate and distort, provide clues towards identity while potentially obscuring easy readings. The artists in this show approach masks from myriad vantages and explore their multiple meanings through painting, ceramic, sculpture, photography, video, animation, and performance.

David Wojnarowicz’s canonical “Rimbaud in New York” photograph serves as a historical antecedent for the work of living contemporary artists including David Kennedy Cutler and Michael Mahalchick. Kennedy Cutler presents a garment rack donning multiple “clone” bodysuits of himself. These “Daves” will be activated by the artist during the course of the exhibition in much the same way that Wojnarowicz donned the visage of Arthur Rimbaud around various sites in New York. Michael Mahalchick’s rubber casts of commercial masks aping public figures or archetypal characters take on a sinister vacancy when painted grotesquely and pinned to the wall.  

David Torres’ films feature masked (and unmasked) heroes and villains playing out roles navigating a fantastical lore of the artist’s devising. In Trenton Doyle Hancock’s drawing a figure’s head is encompassed by a sphere, covering a bowed, featureless face. Turning inward, this body is uncovered to reveal a mysteriously empty space.

In other works, the face itself becomes a mask.  When faces are seen as windows into a person’s psyche, where is the line drawn between bare presentation and performance? Nicole Eisenman’s print “Twelve Faces” shows a tightly packed frame of faces, each up for individual examination and that of a group dynamic. Amna Asghar’s works present commercial imagery from Pakistani advertisements for beauty and skin products, meant to sell an ideal form of beauty by altering one’s face through makeup. Stacy Lynn Waddell’s marks of singed paper also distort faces, here with hair seemingly out of control and contrasting with traditional ideas of beauty and the upkeep of appearances.

In Demetrius Oliver’s 2008 work “Bust,” the artist literally obscures his own face with smears of cake frosting, creating a discomfiting distortion of his features. This move visually pushes the portrait towards a classical sculptural bust calling us to acknowledge the cultural traditions of the genre. Sarah Peters’s plaster and bronze forms similarly draw attention to formal qualities of classical sculpture while updating their subjects to contemporary figures of dolls, mannequins and automata. Leilah Babirye’s ceramic wall sculptures from her ongoing series—“Kuchu (Queer Ugandans)”—are inspired by mask forms from West Africa. Babirye imagines and creates a community of liberated queer Ugandans asserting the presence of historically oppressed and denied identities.

Tamara Gonzales’s paintings reference South American motifs and spiritual practices through the patterning and marking of faces. Donna Chung’s sculpture constructed from ceramic, glass, cut metal and resin exists as a material abstraction, whose arrangement threatens to reference human features. 

In Arnold Kemp’s works on paper, collectively titled “INDEX” tin foil is inked and run through a printmaking press with sheets of antique 19th century paper, impressing a rough amalgamation of eyes and mouth into their surfaces. The reflective nature of the foil is obliterated in its reproduction, forcing a more difficult notion of mirroring. Rachel Harrison’s painting from 2010 features a wood panel with two painted black splotches and a dust mask hanging off the top right corner. While created in a different era, the work rings prescient in the context of 2020.