Brother Mask

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I have been gradually abstracting more and more from an original grainy photograph of my older brother Mike (see Mike Crying). Mike is very low functioning, autistic and nonverbal. I have never been able to contact him in any meaningful way. If there is a connection it is on a subliminal or unconscious level, a level that one can only posit, as there is no evidence of its existence.

Today, my watercolor is the most mask-like of my studies thus far. In The Story of Art, by the art historian, E.H. Gombrich, he mentioned that craftspeople of ‘primitive’ cultures could easily create life-like renditions if they desired, but the purpose of masks were ceremonial. Features of the mask had cultural significance, the meanings of which are mostly unknown today.

The watercolor below is a culmination of a process of developing significant features of a mask that represents Mike, or my opinion of what Mike represents. It is only one rendition. I shall probably experiment with other masks as I continue to work through the myriad of feelings I have about him and our relationship.

Watercolor: Abstract Mask Head

Brother Mask
12″x9″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

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