I am interested in what masks (or their absence) reveal about us at this particular time. My art reflects my attempts to learn more about the multiple meanings that these objects have for those who wear (or don’t wear) them, and for those in their midst.
—Dr. Michael Green , professor of humanities and medicine, physician and bioethicist, chair of the Hospital Ethics Committee, director of the Program in Bioethics, Departments of Humanities and Internal Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- An exhibition exploring the complexities of “masking” will take place at Penn State Jan. 12 to March 2, in 125 Borland Building.
"MASKED" is a collaboration between William Doan, professor of theater and director of the Penn State Arts & Design Research Incubator (ADRI) in the College of Arts and Architecture; Dr. Michael Green, professor of humanities and medicine, physician and bioethicist, chair of the Hospital Ethics Committee, director of the Program in Bioethics, Departments of Humanities and Internal Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine; and Emily Steinberg, lecturer in fine art at Penn State Abington, artist in residence at Drexel College of Medicine, and visual narrative editor for Cleaver Magazine.
Masking is a complex act with as many histories as there are cultures. Mask traditions cover the gamut of human belief systems and practices from the mystical to the practical and from the political to the personal. COVID-19 has created yet another complex series of masking practices that vary across the globe. The three artists presenting work in this exhibit have their own distinct responses to "masking." But they also share a common approach – combining images and text in the tradition of Graphic Medicine and Visual Narratives, to make what are broadly called “comics.” This exhibit not only reflects the outcomes of their collaboration but also the process, which involved many Zoom meetings and conversations to help them build solidarity despite working alone.
“I am interested in what masks (or their absence) reveal about us at this particular time. My art reflects my attempts to learn more about the multiple meanings that these objects have for those who wear (or don’t wear) them, and for those in their midst,” said Green.
Doan is a visual artist and solo performer. For the last several years his work has focused on mental health, particularly living with anxiety and depression. His solo performances include his original drawings and have been performed both here and abroad. A recent inductee into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, Doan also served two years as an artist-in-residence in the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing and as the Penn State Laureate for 2019-20.
Green, a physician and artist, is a founding board member and vice president of the Graphic Medicine International Collective, co-author of the Graphic Medicine Manifesto, and a pioneer in the use of comics in medical education. His art critically explores his interest in family and the personal, social, and political effects of the seemingly mundane.
Steinberg is a multi-disciplinary artist with a focus on painting and graphic narrative. Most recently her comics have been published by The New Yorker Magazine and included in the Eisner awarded anthology Menopause: A Comic Treatment, 2021. Steinberg’s work, an ongoing autobiographical and societal narrative inspired by personal life experience, history, art history, current events and the swirling zeitgeist, aims to record and transmit the visceral experience of being human.
"MASKED," a public exhibition, will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday Jan. 12 to March 2. An artists' talk will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 25, in 125 Borland Building, University Park and will be recorded for future viewing. Visit the ADRI website for details and registration: https://adri.psu.edu
"MASKED" is hosted by the Penn State Arts & Design Research Incubator, College of Arts and Architecture, and sponsored in collaboration with Penn State College of Medicine. Penn State protocols for COVID-19 are in place for those in attendance: https://virusinfo.psu.edu/