October 24, 2008
Tsimshian/Cree artist Phil Gray’s newest creation is this intriguing red cedar portrait mask. Phil has taken the traditional form of a portrait mask, which is usually symmetrical in shape, and carved an asymmetrical expression. Your eye is challenged by the perspective used in this mask, as you try to view it from the centre. The centre is usually the nose, but with this mask it is slightly left of the nose. From every angle this mask projects a different expression. There can be many interpretations of this expression: doubt, disdain, amusement. I believe it was Phil’s intent to have the viewer question this piece, and to determine the expression.