May 17th, 2011
Sex Mask for Religious People, 2005, sculpture, plastic
Botanical Mask, 2009, sculpture, wood
Hallo hallo! As usual, I’m making up for a lost day with a theme, and today’s is Masks. First is Oullette’s “Sex Mask for Religious People”. I like the vagina dentata implied by the lamprey-like orifice. Also kind of chastity belt-esque, calling to mind generations of earnest believers spanning continents and cultures eager to cut off (here, literally) their sex drives in order to reach higher planes of holiness. The spiky glory hole’s also kind of Swarovski-sparkly, giving this ritual accessory some of the shimmer & opulence of Catholicism & other religious denominations. Continuing with the Catholic associations, this piece also calls to mind taking communion — I’m imagining, in some nightmare Jodorowsky-esque scenario, this being worn by kneelers blind to the wafer (or to anything else their religion may see fit to deposit down their throats). A great piece, & I love its blend of sleek, creepy beauty and cultural commentary.
Next is another eyeless mask, this one less overtly menacing, but still disturbing to me: Mayumi Sarai’s “Botanical Mask”. The object suggests gas masks & rampant fungi, reverse barnacles, loudspeakers. What would it mean to wear such a thing? A mask of protection, of menace, of overabundance and burgeoning growth, of omnidirectional projection & volume. A mask for swamp tyrants. The material feels more agreeable than Oullette’s sex mask, and yet this piece ends up being more challenging & unnerving to sit with and ponder, probably because more unknown & alien in purpose. Powerful work.
Please check out more of Sarai’s work at ArtSlant.
Also, check out more of Oullette’s art at danouellette.com.