Saturday, May 22, 2010

"False Faces" - masks (1916-1948) by W.T. Benda were at WCSU

W.L. Benda's amazing masks were shown at Western Conn. State University's Alumni Hall this past week, by his grandson Thatcher Taylor who is a theater student there, with the assistance of Elizabeth Popeil an associate professor. Taylor is a personable sort and was there to act as a tour-guide. He is studying set design and theater tech at the college.

Alumni Hall is full of glass and has a chandelier. The masks were all in plexiglass cases. This arrangement made reflections difficult to avoid. So instead I gave in to them and tried to position them in the photo frame with some mixed results.

What I find odd, thinking back, is that male masks could have the full range of humanity, could be old or evil However, female masks were all idealized as youthful, beautiful, unblemished.
I wish I had seen a wider variety of the women characters so I could know if this was an artistic choice or just the whim of the curator. I think I will paint some women as they are, warts and all. I really enjoyed this exhibit.