Maya Mason, a painter and full-time faculty member of Guttman Community College, was recently featured in a solo presentation of paintings entitled “Interlocutors” at SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York City.
In “Interlocutors,” Professor Mason ponders in paint what can be preserved and rewritten from various canons. She presents self-portraits that are in overt dialogue with familiar imagery, ranging from Renaissance paintings to iconic moments from the golden age of cinema. Her depictions of social encounters explore concerns about selfhood, womanhood, and otherness. Echoing passages from canonized Renaissance masterpieces, Professor Mason dismantles their gender hierarchies in counter-images of solid, thinking female subjects, rewriting these narratives from the subject position of a twenty-first century woman grappling with contemporary complexities and mass media.
References to art history and the tapestry of influence pervade this body of work, which also deals with very current concerns. Picture planes crowded with tangled bodies speak to the pandemic’s simultaneous imposition of social deprivation and the fear of other bodies. In paintings featuring multiple self-portraits, we see the challenges of keeping oneself company in pandemic-induced isolation amid times of political unrest. In more lighthearted paintings, Professor Mason injects humor and absurdity into provocative and sometimes morally-ambiguous examinations of bodily experience, subsuming her own image into a proliferating visual culture with curiosity and vulnerability.
Lecturer in Arts and Humanities Maya Mason teaches Arts in New York City and will be teaching a Capstone course in Modern and Contemporary Visual Culture, as well as other arts-related courses in the Liberal Arts and Sciences program of study. She received her B.A. in English and Visual Art from Brown University and her M.F.A. in Painting from New York Academy of Art. Her areas of research and teaching interest include contemporary art, modern and contemporary visual culture, women in art history, and modern and contemporary American literature. A painter, her artwork has been featured in Juxtapoz Magazine, W Magazine, WWD, and The Untitled Magazine. Her collaborative poetry book with Thomas Fink, A Pageant for Every Addiction (Marsh Hawk Press), was published in 2020, and their previous book Autopsy Turvy (Meritage Press) was published in 2010.