Mystery Behind the Mask: A Review of ‘Masked and Unmasked’

By Michelle Jines, Class of 2013 —

‘Masked & Unmasked’ was more than an appropriate title for the show LOOK ART Gallery put together for its Halloween opening. The mysterious works of both a photographer and an artist covered the walls inside the gallery drawing in observers of all ages. The photographs from Saint Peter’s University’s photography professor, Frank Gimpaya and skull masks and paintings by artist Susan Zoon, have admirers wondering what is behind the color, the expression, the mystery behind each photo, mask, and painting.

Northern New York, Mahopac was more than prepared for Halloween and all that came along with it. There was the cool sun-setting breeze, children wandering the sidewalk in their costumes, and to top it off, of course, a pumpkin carving display just down the street. It set passers-by up for what they would find inside the Look Art Galley on South Lake Boulevard —  the mystery behind a mask.

Professor Gimpaya and his series of “Women in Mask” gave observers minimal to go by when they looked at the photos mounted on the walls. The glare that reflected off the women’s metallic mask that covered the blonde hair beauty draws us into the emotion she puts off. The movement of her hands, the way her facial expression changes in each photo, the way her hair moves with the breeze of air are all small details that you follow throughout the gallery. The intensity of her facial expression, what she may be thinking, wondering and anticipating what her next move may be for the next photo are just the details that amplify that sense of anticipation. We look to see what will she do next in the mask, the little she gives off is the similar way we live life, behind a mask to hide the truth, the reality of oneself. How we are seen is the way we present ourselves to others; the masked women represents how we are able to control what we want people to understand from our outer appearances.


In the manner that Gimpaya is able to paint us an image using different forms, light, and objects, allow his visitors to take a look at Zoon’s colorful skulls that surround the beauty of this woman. Influenced from her recent studies in Mexico, Zoon’s “Day of the Dead” work brought the feel of Halloween, which at the time was just days away, into the show and surround  you with the beauty of jeweled, painted, and decorated skulls. Each individual piece had a relatively familiar theme or topic from the Mad Hatter, to a mask with the NFL team logos, to a mask influenced by Frida Kahlo.

If you wouldn’t mind the travel up to Mahopac, what seems like a nicely secluded town,  the LOOK ART Gallery’s exhibit of ‘Masked & Unmasked’ is a show worth the time and money.



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