Monday, September 15, 2008

City Dance, New Work, Upcoming Events

City Dance publicity photo by Alicia J. Rose

City Dance

Yesterday I had an extraordinary experience! I've heard it said that significant art is that which changes us because of our exposure to it. City Dance, part of PICA's Time Based Art event, fits this definition for me. It will be difficult to put it into words, but I'll give it a try.

From the Oregonian:

In the late 1950s and early '60s, postmodern dance pioneer Anna Halprin and her husband, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, formed an influential collaboration: taking inspiration from each other, she re-imagined the movement of people in space, while he rethought spaces for people to move in.

The Halprins also had a connection to a groundbreaking collective: her San Francisco Dancers' Workshop was in the same building as the avant-garde San Francisco Tape Music Center (SFTMC), where electronics and found sound were altering music.

Together, they were at the heart of a creative upheaval within the broader cultural revolution of the '60s, tearing down spatial and formal boundaries and radically changing the experience of art.

huge audience of Portlanders and visitors of all ages watched dancers cavort in and around Keller Fountain yesterday at the beginning of the performance. Lively "experimental" music issued from the visible musicians.

At the Keller fountain in the beginning I was having a hard time seeing around people. The sun was beating down on me and I dearly wished I could be in the cool water with the dancers. (I've always had some trouble being part of the audience instead of the performance, from the time I saw my first parade and cried because I wanted to be in it.)

After the first section at the Keller, we then followed the dancers to another fountain, part of Halprin's open spaces designed for Portland.
The moving as part of the crowd from one space to another and being part of the excitement catapulted me into a realization: we were all part of the City Dance! I felt my heart open and felt a strong sense of alert, peaceful, anticipation.

The dancers wore colors that I remember from the exciting period of the early 60's when artists like the Halprins were opening up the world from the stuffy fifties, filling it with new color, images, and sounds.

One space sported a piano in the fountain. It looked so lovely that I stared and stared at it. It looked magical, and yet, right. I continued to be transported to the vivid world the Halprins helped create in the past and at the same time I was also fully present in the moment. Everyone in the crowd was smiling and we acknowledged the wonder of the spectacle and of each other and of our combined experience. There were no crying children, though lots of children were there. I didn't hear any annoying yelling or see any drunken or drugged behaviors. We all just basked in being together.

At the last space I was unable to see anything or hear what a speaker was saying. It didn't really matter. I just watched the crowd and inhaled the delicious scent from the trees. I was amazed at the discovery of these hidden open spaces in the heart of the city. I've lived in Portland so long and didn't know they were there. I wondered what more discoveries I could make in the city to open up my own world.

Soon the speech was finished. We all held hands and walked (danced) single file out of the space. At the end of the park, we were each handed a button that said "PLAY."

After the event, adults and children played in the fountains we'd visited. I rolled up my pants and went in--cool and delicious.

What a gift, to have such an experience. I know my words can't convey what it was like, but I hope we all will go out and experience more--hidden open spaces, plays, art, talks, walks, new food--the wondrous world.

Thanks to the choreographers, dancers, musicians, staff, and volunteers for this event!

New Work

Thought I'd share some small pieces I've been working on. These are for my Seattle venue, Frank and Dunya.

Life on Earth 5" square Mixed Media on Panel
This unites a found image, faux gold leaf, acrylic ink, and acrylic medium.

Song of France 5" square, Mixed Media on Panel
This collage has a found photo of a fountain at Versailles, a reproduction of a letter from Marie Antoinette to her mother, a fragment from a vintage song book, and my script on found paper.

I Dreamed You Left Me 6" square. Mixed media collage on panel
A vintage image of the Eiffel Tower, a copy of my lemon painting, found papers, text, paint and a vintage fragment which gives the piece its title.

Where I Used to Live 6" square
An abstract in acrylic paint and ink on panel

Alpine 6" square
Abstract acrylic paint and ink on panel

Way Out West 5"
Acrylic paint and ink, and paper on panel.
Many layers of color and texture

The Old Farm 4" square
Acrylic ink and paint on panel
I used acrylic reinker first and scratched into the surface. The paint was added later, then additional ink for more saturated color.

A Certain Flair 5" square Mixed media collage on panel.
I used found images from an old piano book of Shakespearean songs, an image from an old textbook on Shakespeare that I found at the Dollar Scholar, faux gold leaf, pen and ink, found papers, and acrylic ink.
The book on Shakespeare has wonderful images. It also looks quite interesting and I vow to read it before I cut it up any more!

Upcoming Events

I have one opening in my class this Sunday, "Tear It Up!" See my The Art of Your Life website or email me for more information.

My daughter, Karuna (Jane) Kearney and I will have a booth at the Art and Soul Retreat taking place here in Portland next month! We'll have small original paintings and collages, reproductions small and large, vintage paper supplies, hand-decorated journals, cards, posters, and much more. See us at Vendor Night, Saturday October 4th at the Embassy Suites Hotel!

Sunday, September 28: "Mind Your Own Beeswax" Encaustic Workshop. See past post or email me for more information.

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