Masters of Disguise III: A Group Mask Exhibition


Opening Reception: First Thursday June 1st, 6-8pm

This June we continue to explore the tradition and innovation of mask-making on the Northwest Coast. As with the first two iterations of this group exhibit, we are proud to show the works of these contemporary masters of the Northwest Coast and Alaska. Few traditional objects are as iconic to the Pacific Northwest Coast as masks, which offer a rich platform from which to explore the cultural and art history and contemporary issues of our region. While many objects on the Coast combine functions of magnificent utility and aesthetic, the mask holds a place of prominence because of its use in ceremony, theater, healing, and family wealth.

Traditions of masking are found all up and down the Northwest Coast, from the subtle and realistic portrait masks of the Tlingit and Haida people, to the fantastic and famed transforming and kinetic masks of the Kwakwaka’wakw and Kwagiulth/Kwakiutl. But masks are not all about tradition: we use the art of masking when we face the outside world, we show different faces to different people, and we find ourselves transforming throughout the course of our lives.

For the artists contributing to this exhibit, masks can be a way of honoring people and places–such as Robin Rorick’s dazzling red moon mask, celebrating the women in his life–or respecting those who have passed; such as Dan Friday’s glass skull, Susie Silook with her memorial to her father, and Kathleen Carlo’s joyous tribute to her husband’s memory. Lena Snow Amason-Berns uses her killerwhale plank mask to commemorate a seminal event in her life, while Drew Michael creates masks to explore his spiritual and emotional landscapes.

Many masks depict specific characters from mythology, or mark ceremonial proceedings. These character masks are each part of a lineage reaching back centuries. These ancient myth beings are defined and recognized by their physical attributes and features which reveal aspects of their personalities, environment, and history.


Exhibition Dates:

May 30, 2017 - June 30, 2017