My exhibition Slide consisted of twelve paintings completed during the last five years. The title references my painting process; words like slip, slither, shift, crawl, flow, move, displace, glide, skim, coast, glissade, creep, lurk, mouse, prowl, pussyfoot, skulk, slink, snake, sneak and steal, characterize thoughts and actions I face when bringing a painting to life.
I’m a messy, slow painter, with a long and drawn-out process. My physical engagement is rigorous, where I’m aware of my movements and limitations, especially stretched over a large floor-bound panel. The awkwardness is a dance to me, and I imagine what would happen if dancers were to engage with the energies in the paintings. How might this alter the viewing space and dynamics of the room? I wanted to know.
I reached out to choreographer Brianna Jahn, inviting her to collaborate as she shares the same curiosities. Together we created a performative piece built around what goes into and what it means to make a piece of art, and to extend ideas of touch, convergence and connectivity. We assembled, we unraveled, we shaped and outlined ideas a bit, but left many things open to interpretation.
The dancers chose what became their painting; a portal for their own individual improvisational movements. They wove in chance elements and on-the-spot actions. While the audience stood stationed throughout the museum space, dancers paused directly opposite in an eye-to-eye embrace. There were pedestrian movements and cluster-pile-ups. There’d be a clump of eleven bodies intertwined before one-by-one they’d peel away, like a pulled tapestry thread, —or they’d remain joined. Whether still or active, quick or slow, the dancers’ palette of expressions charged the space and added another layer of human touch to my work.
The performance took place during the show’s closing reception. (02.20.2020)
Click here to watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnsUuIykZkM
I am grateful for the incredible team I was privileged to work with; choreographer Brianna Jahn, dancers Allison Mims, Brittany Tolbert, Kathryn Marchand, Meagan Cobb, Katelynn LeGrow, Pashion Hinnant, Katie Milligan, Jamison Carroll, Katherine Moore, Morgan Goodwin, Anna Bond, and photographer Tiana Kargbo. Thanks to Mark Rigsby, Andrea Kostal and everyone at the University of Mississippi, and to Janet Gorzegno for lighting the spark.