by Shane Lewis11 July '18
Oil Painting marking the antithesis of the human
In Behind Human Mask oil painting there is a portrait perhaps of a despot perhaps of a deceiver. The mask, on the right-hand side of the figure, is peeled away to reveal a cacophonous and distended mass beneath (to the left).
Although this oil painting composition shows a diametrical polarity – the infernal and the human – this is undermined by the facticity of the mask and we rather see a unity of ill will beneath. This could suggest that all the human virtues form a thin film over the heaving turbulence of a powerful animal that can pierce and dispense with it. Humanity forms a brittle patina liable to be exploded.
Yet we have also the internalization of what human beings, societies, and cultures persecute as anathema: The Other.
Depending on whether this subject-figure has specificity, i.e. is a particular human, or is an epitome of humanity in general, various readings can be made. What some readings will have in common though is the theme of a divided human subject and the object within.But this internal division is not even or tidy. A great welter of anomie and subversive motivations swells up behind the mask, perhaps the only residue of human affect or law being the 'X' in a turquoise cartouche on the left which marks a forbidding by law be it social or divine. So the human veil is beleaguered by a tidal wave of the macabre that becomes or is a wrong being of violence, as the sharp teeth of the upper left evoke.