The “Masked” series
Graphite drawings by Melissa Cooke
Statement by the artist
Masks give permission to assume an alternate persona, allowing one to push the boundaries of their personality and eliminating repression and social restraints. By wearing masks, I become a character and provoke dormant aspects of my identity. As I spend time analyzing, drawing, and observing a character, role-playing and fantasy can transform into reality; the animalistic persona can become part of my identity.
The “Masked” series uses posing, nudity and stylization to investigate models of beauty, femininity, elegance and tropes of portraiture. I ascribe and indulge in the stereotype of the artist as spectacle, oddity and celebrity. In essence, I am selling myself, and seducing the viewer with my character and my sexuality.
In spite of what many deem as the “Post-Skill Era”, a time where craftsmanship is a detriment, I strive to challenge myself with new visual problems in order to hone my drawing ability and technique. I create my work by applying thin layers of powdered graphite to paper with a dry brush. Illusion dissolves into brushwork and the honesty of the material.