Thesis Exhibitions (2020-2021) > Lillian Brown

Artist Statement

Masked Feelings seeks to explore the emotion lurking underneath a fake exterior of perfection through paired self-portraits and abstract paintings. As a child, I was drawn to portraits and could never seem to place why. I am inspired by the book, Art as a Way of Knowing by Pat Allen. She says when she paints her own face it looks like a porcelain mask, but that is not what she desires, she desires to know the soul; the truth of who she is, not the outward appearance of the face.

This work is constantly trying to see what is underneath; how much more there is to a person being painted. In this body of work my face is being painted in hopes that it will give better insight into sense of self. That it will unearth all of the truths being sought after. In Masked Feelings the self-portraits are all bright and happy portrayals of myself; the desire to be seen by others as whole. The abstract pieces, then, reflect the truth. The pieces go through different stages of life and reveal the ways in which those moments are looked back on and the feelings that were masked from others.

Although there is a desire to unearth these truths, this is often a terrifying personal process. As the physical face is painted, I am confronted with the soul behind the face and in turn, who I truly am is revealed to those I desire to please.

“Best faces are not what I need to learn about, not what I am hungry for. My own best face is like a porcelain mask. Not that I’m carefully made up. To everyone I’m sure it’s quite an ordinary face. But the face I hold up in public strives for perfection. It’s killing me. It isn’t really a face I need to paint, it’s a soul. Truth, not artifice, not persona” (44, Allen).

Acrylic Paint and Colored Pencils
29" x 39"