Now open at The Dirty Grind is an exhibition by John Brianna (Johnannes1977 Resident) entitled The Mask Collection. While it may at first seem to be a modest collection of nine images, it is nevertheless a nuanced, eye-catching display, mixing the physical and the virtual which challenges us to consider what may or may not lie behind the mask we may wear at any given time.
The images, seven of which can be found within the main room at Dirty Grind Theatre and the remaining two in the foyer area, feature studies of both avatars and people wearing a variety of masquerade and other masks. All have been marvellous finished is style suggesting they are either either painted or drawn, and such is the skill with which this has been achieved, I leave it to you to decide for yourselves which are taken from Second Life and which from the physical world.
“I wanted a collection that fits the theme of the Dirty Grind,” John told me as we discussed the display. “And to reflect the idea that we can wear masks in Second Life which can both conceal and reveal.”
The idea that we all wear masks, whether in the virtual realm or the physical, is an old one, subject to many debates and discussions on the nature of self, identity and how we project ourselves in different circumstances. Within Second Life, such debates can often become far more philosophical, simply because we have a much greater freedom to project an appearance through an avatar, or to play a role within an environment without revealing much of ourselves beyond that role. Or equally, through the very act of “concealing” ourselves within an avatar /role, we can gain the security which allows us to project far more of our personality and nature among strangers and acquaintances than we would were we in the physical world.
It’s an engrossing subject, but truth to tell, even without being drawn into such philosophical ruminations, this is a superb exhibition which should be seen to be appreciated. The images – as noted above, and which are offered for sale at L$400 each – are exquisitely produced; each one has a unique look and style, coupled with a very individual use of texture and colour, which makes it instantly captivating, drawing the visitor into it.
The Mask Collection will remain at The Dirty Grind through until the end of September 2016 – not to be missed.
- The Dirty Grind (Rated: Moderate)