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Cecil McDonald

Mask_Mandate_1, 2022. Photography/Pigment print, 30 x 30 in.
Mask_Mandate_1, 2022. Photography/Pigment print, 30 x 30 in.

The Making Mask

Those that wear the mask lose their human life and turn into the spirit represented by the mask; in this case, The Making Mask. The Making Mask represents supernatural beings, ancestral, fanciful, or imagined figures. The Making Mask masquerades, hiding identity while expressing one’s freedom of voice, emotions, and opinions without judgment; The Making Mask celebrates the virtue in ambivalence, the if in creating.

The view camera is more machine than an entity that offers its own set of mysteries. Unwieldy, bulky, and awkward the view camera encourages a return to play, chance, and experimentation; pure in its analog state forces the maker to shoot blind, released from the comfort of the assurance created by a digital mindset. Both apparatuses proved to be portals to other worlds, just outside our reach though firmly within reach in our collective imaginations.

Waterfalls from Still, Moving Moving, Still, 2-minute video loop projection inside Radio Opticon, 2021.
Portrait of the artist

Cecil McDonald

I am most interested in the intersections of masculinity, familial relations, and the artistic and intellectual pursuits of black culture, particular as this culture intersects with and informs the larger culture. Through photography, video, and dance/performance, I seek to investigate and question the norms and customs that govern our understanding of each other, our families, and the myriad of societal struggles and triumphs. I studied fashion, house music and dance club culture before receiving a MFA in Photography at Columbia College Chicago, where I currently serve as an adjunct professor and a teaching artist at the Center for Community Arts Partnership at Columbia College Chicago. My work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, with works in the permanent collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art, Chicago Bank of America LaSalle Collection, and Museum of Contemporary Photography. I was awarded the: Joyce Foundation Midwest Voices & Visions Award, the Artadia Award, The Swiss Benevolent Society, Lucerne, Switzerland Residency and the 3Arts Teaching Artist Award. I participated in Light Work’s Artist-in-Residence program in July 2013. In 2016 the first edition of my monograph In The Company of Black was published and was shortlisted by the Aperture Foundation for the 2017 First PhotoBook Award.

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