Melanie Bonajo, Bears
Why hide the face? What is there in a face that demands to be hidden? Identity, or the appearance of identity, of course. However, there is more. Although the concept of the mask has been written about extensively, and the mask as an element reappears in all sort of constellations, here we have a mask that is a non-face. It is the erasing of any face-ness. Why is that? Why would we want to go as far as run away from the perfect reference?
For one, it - the face - remains. The face tends to appear as soon as we know it's there. But that is not enough. What is here is an escape from identity, or rather, from identification.
I would like to think it is not a coincidence that both artists whose work is above are women. And that it is no coincidence that their subjects are women also (uhmmm...in the first case it may be debatable). This feminist interpretation is "false", of course, but it would lend itself wonderfully as a weapon against the beauty of this:
And to end on a pretty, feminist and identity-less line,
I'm Nobody! Who Are You?
by Emily Dickinson
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know!
How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one's name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!