Image with Commentary

October 2014

Primitivism, a Western art movement that borrows from non-Western visual imagery, has been an important resource for modern artists. Primitive pastiche is found in Impressionism and Cubism and referenced in paintings by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and Henri Rousseau (1844-1910).

Primitivism evokes thoughts and scenes of a simple, authentic, unspoiled, rural life as opposed to the complex and alienating urban life of modern man. However, this cultural dichotomy has considerable anthropologic baggage and is linked to discredited 19th century concepts of racism and European cultural superiority.

Masks are associated with primitive traditions and largely absent from modern life. But masks remain an integral part of the surgical visual experience. (2014)

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