Positive or negative masks

Positive or negative masks

The “or” in the title is the point here- and admittedly it only really came to me after looking up the assessment requirements and realising I had to submit “one positive masked print” and “one negative masked print”- whereas when I started those I just couldn’t resist trying to make double masks right away. So I had to think again about what shape or form was powerful enough to stand alone. I came back to the crucifixion I’d done earlier. It was the only one I felt had sufficient meaning already invested in it to require no additions.

So I made a positive mask and inked the background in red on a white background. The ink is quite busy and patchy. I prefer the blue and yellow misaligned one I did in the early experiments. But the background being busy and patchy can be seen as appropriate, as what the image stands for is a construct, the space that is created by the multitude of opinions, attitudes and feelings about it. The shape itself is, however, “empty”.

positive mask

This would be one of the challenges of modern art- to find the most elemental visual signs that talk to people, or engage with people, but without telling them what to think. In that sense, the image I’ve chosen is a “cliché” in the sense that it is immediately familiar and therefore could arouse already fixed responses.


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