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Masked/Unmasked Unveiled At Green Scene Gallery

Photographic Exhibit Looks To Women’s Images

Above: Rebecca Webb on one of the shooting locations for her Gentlemen's Paintings.

Aired 10/10/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.

This past Saturday So Say We All held an opening reception for a new photography exhibit called Masked/Unmasked. The two-woman show features work from San Diego-based artists Adriene Hughes and Rebecca Webb.

Transcript

This past Saturday So Say We All held an opening reception for a new photography exhibit called Masked/Unmasked. The two-woman show features work from San Diego-based artists Adriene Hughes and Rebecca Webb. The exhibit runs through October 31 at the Green Scene Gallery on 30th Street.

One of Goya's Gentlemen's Paintings and one of Rebecca Webb's variation on the theme.

Rebecca Webb

Above: One of Goya's Gentlemen's Paintings and one of Rebecca Webb's variation on the theme.

Rebecca Webb’s Gentlemen’s Paintings portrays the comfort and conflicts of mid life female identity. Gentlemen’s Paintings (After Goya) is what Webb calls "a comment on societal attitudes about female middle-aged 'appropriateness' according to contemporary societal standards. Women, in their 40s and 50s, face the complicated transition between youth and old age and many struggle to define their public persona and image. Gentlemen’s Paintings is a photographic reflection of this struggle. This project is also a self portrait; a personal exploration of Southern California where for some women, the attainment of a youthful appearance through religious exercise, plastic surgery and or 'inappropriate' dress is the cultural norm. As a middle-aged, urban east coast woman, the process of attempting to assimilate into this new landscape has challenged my notions of what it means to 'age gracefully.'”

Another of Adriene Hughes photos in the Masked/Unmasked exhibit.

Adriene Hughes

Above: Another of Adriene Hughes photos in the Masked/Unmasked exhibit.

Adriene Hughes’ Deer/Woman weaves a fantastic visual tale through masks to examine the relationship between nature and humanity, reevaluating what it means to be human.

The catalyst for Hughes' photo series came while she was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2005 and saw a deer head trophy at a swap meet stall.

"Four years later," she recalls, "I stumbled upon this deer mask and felt instantly drawn to it and started on a series of performative acts using photography. I wanted to explore those feelings I had with that decapitated deer, and give myself a place to start healing from experience of breast cancer. No one every talks about the emotional fallout of survivorship. Going through surgery and chemotherapy is really difficult, though all women put on a face of bravado in order to survive the experience. There are two ways to experience cancer: you either walk through it or you don't, and in order to survive you just have to get through it!"

The exhibit featuring her work and that of Webb just happens to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

GUESTS

Rebecca Webb, photographer and film curator for UCSD's Art Power

Adriene Hughes, multi-media artist

Comments

Avatar for user 'gfields'

gfields | October 10, 2011 at 10:17 p.m. ― 2 years, 6 months ago

I am a frequent listener to the local programming on KPBS and the program this afternoon on the photo exhibit "Masked/Unmasked" was one of the most compelling I have heard on the station.

I was lucky enough to attend the opening of the exhibit and see first hand the marvelous work that was the subject of the program, but listening to the interview and the commentary by the artists themselves gave their work an entirely new dimension. I was very impressed with the questions asked by host Maureen Cavanaugh, but it was the two artists, Rebecca Webb and Adriene Hughes who, in explaining what they were trying to accomplish through their photographic images, really made the program so interesting.

Both guests were extremely articulate in explaining the importance of issues related to women's identity in their work and how they challenged one-sided presentations of women. What was especially impressive to me was how both guests positioned their art within broader historical contexts. Rebecca Webb explained how she was influenced by a series of works by Goya in presenting a set of powerful images about women "of a certain age," while Adriene Hughes revealed how Greek mythology came to inspire some of her work about the ambiguities of women's identity and her own confrontation with, and recovery from breast cancer. All in all a really terrific and sophisticated program.

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