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an Installation by Ken Arthur

February 20 - March 24,  2005*

virtual tour

There will be a public reception on Sunday, February 20, from 1:00 until 4:00 PM.
Mr. Arthur will present an illustrated talk at 2:00 p.m.

*During this event, the gallery is open Sunday through Friday from 1:00 until 4:00 PM, and CLOSED each saturday and on Presidents' Day, Monday, February 21. Please check the hours page for additional information.

Mask/Not Mask is an invitation to a journey of rediscovery from the apparent to the abstract, to awaken the inner eye for viewing and processing what we see in our everyday experience.  The collections of artifacts elevate and compare everyday objects to the extraordinary of traditional African masks.  The journey requires that viewers move beyond looking and knowing and consider the concepts of function versus form.

The pairings are designed to rekindle a passion for appreciating objects we encounter every day...without preconceptions.

Our cultural environment structures our understanding of objects, and the name given an object forever thereafter dictates its function.  Once we learn an object's name it is extremely difficult to see it for anything other than that which we know it to be.  We essentially stop seeing the objects, and they become the function they perform for us.

Many of the common objects included in this installation seem to possess a human appearance.  The observer is asked to consider the everyday objects in relation to the traditional African masks.  The masks are the manifestations of their makers' understanding of the natural world, and serve as bridges between physical and non-physical realities.  And just as many of the everyday objects seem to have an essential human quality to them, so too do they seem to reflect qualities essential to the traditional masks.

It would seem that the farther we become removed from our primal natures the nearer we come to them.  Are the everyday masks accidental or a subconscious effort to rediscover the tribal heritage innate within us but camouflaged by centuries of civilization?

- Ken Arthur

To see is itself a creative operation, requiring an effort.  Everything that we see in our daily life is more or less distorted by acquired habits, and this is perhaps more evident in an age like ours when cinema, posters, and magazines present us everyday with a flood of ready-made images which are to the eye what prejudices are to the mind.  The effort needed to see things without distortion takes something very like courage!

- Henri Matisse

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With awareness of cultural diversity and the positive values of artistic regionalism, the Sandusky Cultural Center provides educational and entertaining exhibits that stimulate an interest in the fine arts, provide a focus for multicultural awareness, and introduce complex issues and challenging concepts.

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