Medium: Clay mask on wood panel with an additional wood detail; acrylic paint; pieces of snake shed.
Dimensions: 39.5” (l) x 12.5” (w) x 6” (d)
Description: I made the mask while demonstrating portrait techniques in clay to a combined class of high school sculpture and English Literature students. The demo included punching holes around the upper rim (often done with indigenous masks) so that hair substitutes could be wound or knotted through them). In the demo, I included as many possibilities for constructing a mask as I could manage in one example. Later, for fun and to grab the students’ attention and interest in experimenting with unexpected possibilities, I wound snake skin “sheds” through the holes. My family had a large collection of live snakes at home so lots of skin sheds were readily available. Pleased with the piece, I wanted to extend the mask into a full exhibition entry. Building upon the snake theme, I mounted the mask on a board and added a long, narrow wood arc to suggest the body/tail of the Boa Constrictor. The vertical “Rising” of the snake in the title is a philosophical reference.