Liz Sexton’s Sea Animal Masks Highlight Beloved Species in Realistic Paper Mache – Colossal

by The Insights


#animals #Liz Sexton #masks #paper #sculpture

April 28, 2023

Kate Mothes

All images © Liz Sexton, shared with permission. Photography in collaboration with Ben Toht

If you feel like a fish out of water, the saying goes, you’re probably feeling a little confused or uneasy. St. Paul-based artist Liz Sexton gives simile new meaning with recent marine-themed additions to her course series of papier-mâché masks, showcasing the distinctive faces of familiar creatures like walruses, manatees and polar bears that find their way onto dry land.

Sexton loves papier-mâché for its versatility and accessibility, using readily available additional materials like fabric, wire, and acrylic paint to create each animal’s unique textures, patterns, and colors. Including his upcoming solo exhibition Out of water at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, lifelike portable sculptures draw attention to a variety of beings that depend on aquatic ecosystems for survival. Barnacles and beluga whales are photographed against atmospheric backdrops by the artist’s partner and collaborator, Ben Toht, who captures each animal’s unique details and expressions.

Many of Sexton’s sculptures depict species that in their native habitats are under threat as they become increasingly entangled in nets and suffer the effects of the climate crisis. The delicate and often delicate balance between the man-made environment and natural ecosystems is highlighted in the photographs of the masks in atmospheric settings by artist partner and collaborator Ben Toht. The portraits playfully juxtapose the creatures with unusual locations like a grocery store freezer aisle, a campground, or a laundromat.

Out of water opens May 6 and runs through September 3 in Winona, and you can find more work on the artist’s website and Instagram.

A character wears a realistic anglerfish mask.

One figure wears a realistic barnacle mask.

A character wears a realistic beluga whale mask at the edge of a swimming pool.

One figure wears a realistic marine iguana mask.

One figure wears a realistic polar bear mask.

A character wears a realistic sea turtle mask.

A character wears a realistic trunk fish mask and waits at a train station.

A character wears a realistic manatee mask in a laundromat.

#animals #Liz Sexton #masks #paper #sculpture

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