Ariana Page Russell


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Save Face, 2010

archival inkjet prints, x 30 x 20", Duration Variable

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Living in a city with millions of people, I’m used to seeing a lot of faces in a day. They all blur together, but a few stand out. Some subtle interaction, a glance or expression, catches my attention and there’s eye contact. These fleeting moments reveal something deeper than the persona.

In Chinese language there are 98 different concepts of “face”. They believe the face is a mask with incarnate spirit—a totem—and we are saving or losing it to stay members of society. In some American Indian cultures people use face paint to describe an emotion, augment one’s appearance and power, or prepare for battle.

To some degree we have control over how we portray ourselves and what’s revealed, but we still leak emotions and aspects of our being. This makes us human. Using temporary tattoos made from photographs of my flushing skin, I wear this vulnerability as war paint, playing with the idea of face.

Artworks by Ariana Page Russell

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