For my exhibition Slide, I showed twelve paintings completed during the last five years. I chose the title because it aptly describes my painting process. Associative 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 both the actions and thoughts I face when bringing a painting to life.
I am a messy slow painter, with strong physical engagement and a long drawn-out process. Working large, stretching over my floor-bound paintings I am aware of my own movements and limitations. I think of these awkward movements as a dance, and this got me thinking what would happen when the energy and fluidity of actual dancers, moving bodies are seen juxtaposed with the gesture and vitality in the paintings, and how would that dynamic activate and displace space?
I reached out to choreographer Brianna Jahn Malinowski, invited her to collaborate as she shares the same curiosities. Together we created/structured a performance that focused on the convergence of our disciplines, and what it means to make a piece of art…assembling and unraveling while maintaining an openness that allows the same for the audience, leaving possibility on the table.
Each dancer chose what became their painting; using it as the portal for their own individualistic improvisational movements. There were chance elements where the dancer chose an on-the-spot action. The audience stood throughout the space, in taped off areas where at times a dancer stopped opposite face-to-face with them. There were pedestrian movements and cluster-pile-ups, bodies intertwined and clumped before peeling away one-by-one while remaining joined, like a thread in a tapestry. The dancers own palette of expressions, whether still, active, thrashing, twisting, bending, quick or slow 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) I look to share video as it becomes available.
I am grateful for the incredible team I was privileged to work with; choreographer Brianna Jahn Malinowski, 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.