Hi! It’s been awhile. But for great reasons! I’ve been working on lots of projects in the last few months. Here’s a little about one of them.
Canby High has a team of about 25 dancers who participate in large dance competitions around the region. The dances are performed on a large gymnasium floor, with some sort of scenery specific to the concept of the piece. They have been working with choreographer James Healey for the past few years, and have made some stunning work. This last October, we began a conversation about masks they could wear… on the backs of their heads.
The concept had to do with shifting perception and multiple ways of seeing. So my goal was to conceive of a design that would come alive on the performer with all of the limbs moving slightly differently to how we are accustomed.
To communicate over digital media, I took shots of the mask from a variety of perspectives.
It was decided that the show would have three designs, but multiple copies of that design.
I used an existing mask to try out a helmet strategy for wearing. We scrapped it.
James shared some images and we talked about the feeling the masks should have. I sculpted with these emotions in mind, and also tried to capture the faces in a series of planes, slightly abstracting them.
Neoprene glows nicely when backlit by the sun!
Another strategy for wearing. Closer…
We knew the rest of the design would be in blacks, grays, and whites, in keeping the conceptual element of one way vs. many ways. It was decided that I would form the masks, and the arts students at Canby would paint them using my advice.
So many faces!
Priming the neoprene to prepare for painting.
An inspirational image. The director wanted to incorporate some reflective surfaces on the masks to match the costuming. (Thanks Lauren Adams of White Bike Ceramics!)
The students explored how best to paint the masks. High contrast was necessary for the sculpture to ‘read’ in the large dance space.
The dancers came into my studio early in the process to determine how the masks would need to be arranged to carry out the choreography. They were so much fun! And they were very excited about the masks… which I think you can see in some of the photos below.