Collages 6

Homage to Ensor series

This series, painted in early summer 2019, is a tribute to  the Belgian expressionist James Ensor. I find his paintings powerful, engaging, and mystifying. I am struck by the contrast between his bright colors and his dark subject matter, by the boldness of his satirical work, and by his fearless self-portraits.


One of these, Self-Portrait with Masks, is the inspiration for these pieces. The bright colors and the array of strange and frightening faces populate the painting and amplify the “normal-looking” Ensor in their midst.

Who is truly masked here?

Ensor’s work was featured on the cover of an art magazine. First, I tore the faces I wanted to use and cut the rest of the page into thin strips. Each of my pieces has an under--painting over which the faces (Bienvenue, Trapèze) and strips (Le Cirque) have been glued.


Bienvenue (1) is a sarcastic title that dares the viewer to come into the messy world of the artist’s mind. The under-painting was made using India ink, watercolor and sand.

Trapèze (2) represents the circus performance the artist cannot avoid if s/he is exposed (exhibited).

Le Cirque (3) extends this metaphor of performance and illusion, the tension between the self and the world, the visual and the emotional: the lines between our inner and outer lives.