Putting on a mask creates a paradox. Whilst it allows the wearer to feel empowered, it is a strength enabled by the concealment of vulnerability. This was something Sandra Chevrier sought to explore with her Superhero canvases, which she began creating in 2013. In the series, female faces are partly concealed behind masks made of comic book collage, fusing a distinctly “pop art” aesthetic with the appearance of high fashion editorial. In collaboration with Brian Ypperciel , Chevrier has created a series of masks for a beauty shoot with Schön!, transforming her canvases into a stunning photographic series.
According to Chevrier, in the Superhero series, “the mask which overlays the portraits are quite literally torn between the fantastical heroics and iconography of comic books” with the intent to highlight “the harsher underlying tragedy of oppressed female identity”. Chevrier’s conception of the Superhero series, and her proposal of the ‘mask’ as something oppressive, stem from her earlier Cages paintings. Cages began when Chevrier found an old sketch of a woman’s portrait and embellished it with heavy textures of dollar store toll painting. “I found the result very striking; the woman seemed like she was trapped in her own skin, like in a prison… a cage”, she explains. There is a power in the brushwork, and drama in the lighting, which have resulted in paintings that demand attention and investigation beyond their surface appearance.
This recent series lifts the mask of the superhero, to expose “their own struggles and weaknesses, and the humanity within the superhuman”. Chevrier critiques the pressure society places on its members – particularly women – to project this appearance of strength. She states that “we should allow ourselves to be fragile. We are merely human men and women and therefore entitled to flaws and errors.”
Through her art, Chevrier continues to address the troubles and anxieties many people face, and to transform this pain into beauty. She is driven by the prospect of continually improving and refining her craft. “I think I learn something new every time I finish a piece”, she explains. “Passion is the most precious gift someone can receive and Art is mine, and as long as it’s there with me, I will enjoy creating, experimenting, learning, making mistakes, and being in a constant state of dissatisfaction!”
Words / Daisy Schofield
This Schön online exclusive was produced by
Photography / Brian Ypperciel
Creative Director / Florence O. Durand @ Judyinc.
Models / Lucie @ Ema, Chantale Nadeau & Sophie Touchet @ Chantale Nadeau , Montage Elissa @ Montage & Melizanne @ Dulcedo
Hair / Anna Pacitto @ Salon Pure using Davines Products
Make Up / Alexandres Deslauriers @ P1M using MAC
Cosmetics Artist / Sandra Chevrier