Sunday, June 01, 2014

Stephen Tuomala, Death Masked: ModernFormations Gallery

Stephen Tuomala, Death Masked
Stephen Tuomala, Death Masked

Stephen Tuomala's exhibit of a new body of work, Death Masked, opened during May's Unblurred. I've seen Mr Tuomala's work in several exhibits, and this is a real departure, from his use of color to his substrate.

It is a discordant exhibit, with it's light and pretty colors and violent subtext. Continuity remains in Tuomala's interest in the body, but with a twist. All of the images pay homage to Lucha libre, the masked wrestlers so popular in Mexican culture. The pastel watercolors tones remind me a bit of Dia de Los Muertas, with the spooky confections of flower-embellished skulls.

Mr Tuomala has assembled a gallery of just masks across one wall of the back room, fascinating the visitors during the opening reception. The individual works had enough narrative cues to present an interpretative path. But the majority of the exhibit is centered around targets, with human silhouettes wearing masks and colorful bullseyes covering their torsos. The bullseyes themselves are filled with small figures in a myriad of poses and gestures.

Yes, the Death Masked exhibit is still ongoing. You can see Mr. Tuomala's exhibit through June 20 at ModernFormations. Stop by for this coming Unblurred.

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