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There is a raw honesty in how she shares her story that I find refreshing. No spit polish, no attempt to gloss over details, just her journey as seen through her eyes. This matches my way of approaching how I share myself with world when asked. Here I am, this is who I am, this is my work.
Masik is an artist who creates work that she believes in with strong messages for the viewer. It is definitely a tougher path than one who creates work for commercial sales. And sometimes the very nature of her message has brought censorship such as with Requiem and The Forgotten. It's not an easy path, but the art she creates comes from the very core of her life experiences. It's a call that must be answered truthfully.
Each new series created often offers a variety of mediums - paintings, sculptures, multi-media and performance works. It's not a linear process with one canvas being created after the other - more like an orchestra where individual notes are developed alongside each other. It looks chaotic from the outside, but not so for Masik. She moves easily from piece to piece working on one after another for a time, without losing her creative focus, until all works are complete.
At the very end of this article, I have included two videos. The first is about creating The Forgotten and the controversy surrounding this series. This journey was also documented in a film called The Exhibition which has been well-received at festivals and is available for viewing on Super Channel. Crossing my fingers The Exhibition will become more widely available soon. You can view the Hot Docs Festival trailer for The Exhibition on YouTube by clicking HERE. I also included the video of her live performance piece shown at Art Basel 2008.
I had a hard time choosing this excerpt, but in the end settled on a section talking about one of her first performance pieces. The internet was in it's infancy when it came to art and this experience tested her to the fullest.
Excerpt from Chapter Five - Pamela Masik
"In 2003, Masik conceived another unique performance piece designed to explore the idea of finding her true self. She built a soundproof box, installed a port-a-potty in the corner, and sealed herself in for five days. Internet viewers vicariously shared the experience through a live feed. It
was a form of sensory deprivation that stripped life to its basic elements.
She remembers, 'There was a random timer on the light so I lost track of the time. In the beginning, I was trying to grasp onto the normal things we hold onto, but all of these illusions started falling away. I kept a big journal and in it you can see where I’m trying to track time. I lost. I seriously started hallucinating and went a bit nutty. In moments of darkness, I would meditate, sleep, or sculpt. I painted the walls and called it the Fall of the Apple and the Ascension of Man. I had the most monumental experiences of who I was.'
It took weeks after coming out of the box to be comfortable in groups. Even colours initially looked surreal. An unexpected side effect was that her ability to express herself artistically exploded. Before this experience she was creating five paintings at once—afterwards, she was working on twenty to thirty at the same time."