Friday, October 8, 2010

Masks by Mo Bayliss

It seems like I have always had an interest in archaeology. So, when Mo Bayliss's art entered my sphere I found myself immediately drawn to her work.

These masks are painted with colours which Mo grinds into powder from stone. She then mixes it with water and paints the resulting paste onto art paper. Mo finishes it off by her framing her finished work and putting it behind glass.

That being said, the above mask stares mutely out at the world. It isn't so much as a representation of a living person, as it is statement of life itself. Its hard, for instance to see any indication of personality in it. I remember being taken aback by this when I saw the moon mask in a museum in Victoria, many years ago. You have to get beyond your search for individuality. You are looking at a statement of human life itself.

The mask you see above speaks mightily for Mo's artistic skills. The rich colouring, the varied textures and the dramatic slash of black which crosses its eyes make it an exciting work. And to top it off,Mo highlights her work with surrounding radiating lines. If times were reversed, I am sure that Mo would have been a much demanded native artist, in times long past.

1 comment:

  1. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with Mo Bayliss. She is as dynamic a person as her artwork. As an archaeologist, I was drawn to the realism of her clay pots. (I own one of her Huron Incised). When I asked her at an art show how she got them so realistic and she pulled out a flat stone then picked up another ground and then added water and painted a beautiful teal stroke which glittered in the gallery light. Wow! She then told me she held workshops and I could learn. I was sold! As far as I know she is the only artist in the world revitalizing rock/mineral painting. She has developed a unique skill and openly shares with anyone. Every Native and Metis Cultural centre should be hiring her to share her unique knowledge and revitalize this native art. Thank you Fred for sharing her.


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