Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
I read this quote from Oscar Wilde and it made me think about painting serving as a mask for some artists, allowing them to say things in paint that they see as their truth that they might not be able to express otherwise. I might fall into that category in some regards. I certainly hope my work reflects some sort of inner truth. Or, at least, reflects an aspiration for what I desire for my own truth.
For instance, my work often is placid and calm while I often do not reflect that same attitude personally. I aspire to be calm and placid and sometimes I do find it for short periods of time. Maybe the aspiration to be this way will eventually become an ultimate truth. Maybe this sort of personal truth can be created, like the face behind the mask beginning to take the shape of the mask.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s something that we shouldn’t dwell on for too long. I thought of this quote when I was finishing this recent painting, titled True Self, a 7″ by 15″ piece on paper. I wondered if this image on the sheet before me was any part of my own truth. I know that I wanted it to be such but there was part of me that felt unsure, sensing that the reality didn’t yet meet the aspiration. But it felt like there was at least a small bit of my truth in there somewhere.
Perhaps when I finally take off the mask I will find it was not a mask but a mold.