By Amanda McShane

Candace Masters, a 2005 graduate of the university art department is showcasing her work with her “Entangled” exhibit at the Salve Regina art gallery focusing on her personal experiences as well as other women’s struggles. Her work “Entangled” has been shown from August 30 through October 26 in the Salve Regina Art Gallery. Masters was inspired by her personal

Masters spent a year and a half journaling and developing ideas for the exhibit.  She executed her fourteen paintings in six months while on a semester long sabbatical to work on the project. She came up with the title, “Entangled,” by journaling about the issues she had discussed and looked around when she was surrounded by a tangle of cords for her computer, printer and her laptop.

Masters used herself as a model and reference for the female subject, while her studio-mate photographed her. She then used the photos as references to paint by changing color and space, and modifying the scale. She also deleted bits and pieces of materials that she was tangled up in the photos. It was challenging at times for Masters, but she felt that it went along with her concept. She would also write in a journal prior to creating a new work.

“It was sometimes tough to think about emotional and difficult events or situations. But once I get to painting, it is all about the materials and form, and my mind becomes focused on color and texture and space and my love of paint.” Masters said.

She has spoken to women who carry baggage and have experienced sexual assault or abusive situations, and has had the pleasure to speak with women and witness the grace and strength in their stories in her life. Relationships have evolved from talking with mothers at Masters’ daughter’s activities such as dance class, piano lessons, or Girl Scouts.

“The deeper I dug into our stories and shared experiences, the more in awe I became of the resilience and grace of these women,” Masters said.   

Masters has come from a varied and diverse background as a educator. She worked at a correctional facility school in the 1990’s, as well as city schools, suburbs, elementary school to college and beyond.

“I have built relationships with students, families, colleagues and teachers.  I have heard countless stories; stories of surviving trauma, of overcoming fears and battling often unattainable societal expectations. For me, creating art is a way of reaching out to the viewers to join in our shared humanity.  If someone looks at my painting and says, ‘Wow, yes, that looks exactly like how I feel,’ then I am satisfied,” Masters said.

Several of Masters’ pieces were about the issues of social media.

“Technology has transformed our lives dramatically, some for the better, but some absolutely to our detriment,” said Masters. “Social media particularly, has changed the way we interact with our world and while it has given us access to more information, I believe it has added to our tangles and fuels our fears and anxieties.”

Men and women have understood and expressed to Masters that the metaphor of feeling tangled resonates well with them.  

Masters was offered an exhibit by former professors, Nora Heimenn and John Figura.

“My experience and time at CUA was wonderful and transformative. My creative, professional and personal growth while a graduate student in the Department of Art, with the encouragement of Dr. Heimann and Professor Figura, was invaluable in attaining the successes I have had. I am ever grateful for the opportunity to come back and have my work shown at Salve Regina, and to be able to share it with the CUA community.”

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