Before the coronavirus there was a pandemic already wreaking havoc across the globe: single-use waste. Companies manufacturing single-use products have used society’s fear of the coronavirus for monetary benefit. Single-use masks have a 450-year shelf life, leaving the remains of the pandemic long after the virus has passed.[1] They have become the denominating pollutant of the single-use pandemic.

          The purpose of this series is to explore the damage of single-use masks and their transcendence into the “out of sight, out of mind” mindset. However, they are not really out of sight, they are right in front of us.  I have collected these single use masks from the environment and cleansed them thoroughly. Afterwards, I primed them with a layer of gesso and clipped them to a board. From there, I went out into the surrounding landscapes of Madison and painted in plein air. The purpose of these perspective landscapes was to blend them as much into nature, a camouflage that harnessed the literal “out of sight,” phrase. While painting towards a camouflaged appearance, the painterly strokes give away the location of the mask, as does my hand holding it, keeping the mask in the physical foreground and in the forefront of the mind.

[1] Kassam, Ashifa, ”More mask than jellyfish: coronavirus waste ends up in ocean,” The Guardian, 8 June 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/08/more-masks-than-jellyfish-coronavirus-waste-ends-up-in-ocean

Masking the Truth

©2020 by Mackenzie Madison