Unknown Individual Wears Mask During Public Appearance

Renowned ceramicist John Dennison is preparing to showcase his latest works titled “Masked”. The exhibition presents a series of Dennison’s iconic 3D masks at the Ming Toy Gallery in Benson starting on May 5, 2017. Dennison has garnered a reputation for his high-quality fine art and pottery, developing his signature and imaginative style over several decades. The exhibit infuses sophisticated techniques and daring creativity, providing allegorical and sometimes humorous references to pop culture, religion, and literature.

Each of Dennison’s elongated masks conveys a visage that is both fearsome and inviting, featuring hooded eyes and open mouths that reveal little. In the past, these masks often evoked primitive and sea elements, as well as the darker characteristics of human beings. Recently, however, Dennison’s works have evolved into contemporary explorations of morality, race, music, and media. Donning his allusions in contemporary matters, he emphasizes that masks serve as a metaphor for facing problems, rather than hiding from them.

The exhibition features an array of masks, which simultaneously serve as signs of protection and amulets, just like the ancient Greeks that carved Medusa’s image over their doors to protect their homes. Dennison’s masks not only offer protection, but he illustrates these concerns about everyday struggles in a way that is evocative and conceptual. By accenting his works with literary allusions, graphics, and even humor, Dennison communicates his paradoxical function of confronting problems in a humorous way.

For Dennison, sharing is a communal way of life; hence he integrates teapots and cups onto his face sculptures. He explained that tea sharing suggests unity with others, and an opportunity to mull over ideas. For Dennison, it is a quiet nod to those who have lived this longstanding tradition.

The exhibition runs from May 5 to 27, 2017, at 6066 Maple Street and will be showcased during the Benson First Friday. The event is free and open to the public. To keep track of gallery schedules and hours or for more information on the exhibition, contact the organizers via phone or text at 402.681.1901.

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