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About Face

JUNE 17 – OCTOBER 16, 2022

As a child, I recall the shock of the ground suddenly lurching and shifting under my feet while walking to school.


The global pandemic shook my world no less than that earthquake of my youth. Like an aftershock, it caused a sudden “About Face”-- or reversal of direction -- in my artwork. The title is intended to be both literal and figurative.


When facial expression is obscured, what’s left? I probed my own, masked reflection in a mirror (I was required to enter my studio masked) in a series of ‘blind contour’ self-portraits in ink on paper. These distorted drawings led to other masked self-portraits, both playful and serious.


Disposable masks, lost or tossed, were simply gone with the wind: snagged by fences and washed into storm drains. This new detritus of our times suggested to me the old classic movie, Gone with the Wind, and the ballgowns of Southern belles, the antithesis of contemporary work-from-home-wear.


So why not design and stitch myself a custom-fit ballgown from surplus disposal masks? Better yet, in the Cinderella blue! The dress is intended For Single Use Only. Every mask remains functional; the gown can be deconstructed to provide over 200 days of viral protection as the skirt is shortened to mini and the bodice unstitched...


About Face holds a mirror to the psyche of an artist navigating the shifting ground of the COVID-19 pandemic.


-Bev Tosh, 2022

Image: Bev Tosh,  PandeMona, 2021, Oil and eggshell on panel

Artist Talk: About Face

September 3, 2022

With Artist Bev Tosh

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