The National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center will feature its first exhibition devoted to Meryl McMaster (Plains Cree member of the Siksika Nation, British and Dutch), an emerging artist from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. “ Meryl McMaster: Second Self” examines McMaster’s “Second Self” series, which was first exhibited in 2013 at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis as part of the RED: Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. The exhibition opens June 12 and runs through Dec. 11 in the museum’s Photo Gallery. Admission is free.
McMaster’s interest is based on using portraiture and self-portraiture to explore questions of how people construct their sense of self through lineage, history and culture. “Second Self” reconsiders identity through portraiture by incorporating drawing and sculpture. Representing the complexities of identity, the drawings and sculptures act like masks or personas to conceal and change the subject’s identity. Persona has come to define the individual for the public while concealing the real person. The mask, then, is like the second self.
The National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center is located at One Bowling Green in New York City, across from Battery Park. The museum is free and open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursdays until 8 p.m.
Bio: Meryl McMaster is a Canadian-based artist and a graduate in photography from OCAD University. Her artistic practice begins with photography, evoking a journey that follows a path of self-discovery. She is interested in exploring questions of how we construct our sense of self through lineage, history and culture. McMaster’s practice extends beyond straight photography by incorporating other artistic media into how she build images and express her ideas. McMaster’s resulting work takes advantage of both the spontaneity of photography and the manual production of props or sculptural garments, performance and self-reflection. McMaster’s work unravels identity and subjectivity as something that is never complete, but always in process and invariably formed from within.