#2 Mask

Sargent Claude Johnson1939/1941

SCAD Museum of Art

SCAD Museum of Art

Sargent Claude Johnson?s hammered copper masks retain the strong influence of African art and draw on the ideas of philosopher Alain Locke?s concept that mandated black artists use indigenous African art as an aesthetic model. #2 Mask is an example of a highly abstracted mask designed in the relative oval shape of a face while maintaining a highly flattened front surface. Linear striations pressed into the surface of the copper run vertically down the front of the face with two areas punctured in proximity of where eyes would be located. The mouth of the mask is turned up on one side, which gives a dynamic expression to the face. While this later mask retains the same beautiful golden brown patina and soft almond shape found in earlier, more realistic representations, #2 Mask is a highly stylized interpretation of Johnson?s vision of more traditional African forms.

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