Cover Art
Dawn Black

   My work examines the practice of masquerade and its role in relation to conceptions of identity and power by depicting people from various sources, societies and time periods in gouache, watercolor, and ink on paper. I am particularly interested in the various permutations of social practices that engender power hierarchies. The religious, ethnic, and sexual nuances of power — who are the meek, who are the shameless, and when do the roles interchange? I think of the limitless bank of images that pervades our lives as a collective unconscious. A shared state, we all contribute and are part of it. I cull these images through random web searches, visits to public archives, and periodical searches, intuitively selecting figures of interest.  I decontextualize the figures by moving them from their original environment to a vacant piece of paper to provide absolute focus on their identities and roles in society. My compositions are influenced by eastern perspective, theatre, and mythmaking in general. I find universal myths compelling because they bring understanding to viewers unfamiliar with other cultural norms. My work does not illustrate any specific myth but seeks to provoke critical thought regarding current attitudes within the terms of cautionary tales. In addition to my narrative work is the ongoing body of work entitled the Conceal Project.  The project currently consists of 400 postcard size drawings of disguised/ concealed people. I think of these figures as archetypes — the mother, the soldier, the victim, the perpetrator. Seen in a large grouping, the relationship from one figure to another foments religious and cultural tolerance through the broad spectrum of various identities in addition to provoking critical thought regarding stereotyping and xenophobia. Currently, I am making larger work that continues to explore current events and social conventions.

      Mr. Prospective Animal Tamer, gouache, ink, watercolor on paper, 11″ x 11″, 2012



The Magic Foxhole, gouache, ink, watercolor on paper, 30″ x 40″, 2012



     The Nightmare, gouache, ink, watercolor on paper, 11″ x 15″, 2010



  Folly’s Garden, gouache, ink, watercolor on paper, 11″ x 15″, 2012



  Second Coming, gouache, ink, watercolor on paper, 22″ x 24″, 2012



   Pilgrimage, gouache, ink, watercolor on paper, 15″ x 22″, 2011