Agora Design Partnership | Design for Public Parks & Spaces

Totemic Masks: The Family

  • 12″ x 8″ x 2″
  • Bronze platter and consumer objects
  • Years completed: 2014–2015

Shown here from “The Family” series of 15 bronze platters are “The Queen,” “Prince George,” “Your Sister’s View of the Queen,” and “The Butler’s Cheshire Cat.”

The Totemic Masks Series uses the oval (from Cézanne) and various other forms to elucidate themes and ideas from industrial culture. “The Family” uses ordinary, mass-produced objects to shed light on family relationships. The objects employed—salt shakers, napkin rings, inkwells, doorknob plates and so forth—date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They imply relationships within families that, like those in life, are not always ideal.

With the advent of pop art in the 1950’s, the line between “useful” commercial objects, and “useless” art objects was crossed. These trends, employed by many artists since, have led to the inclusion of virtually any object, and arrangement of objects and designs in the milieu called Art. There has been a tendency towards both object and designs that are anti-elegant, and anti-historical, in favor of those that are more banal, and of the present moment.

The Totemic Masks series takes this process a step further. They cross the line and take ordinary, useful objects, and render them useless, except for their value in creating an image that comments on one or more aspects of industrial society.