Thursday, August 22, 2013

that moment when ... : Sarah Lochhead

I was fortunate today to have a long stretch of time in which to lose myself to the lull of summer.

Sushi lunch with my e-reader while delighting in the fiction writing genius of F. Scott Fitzgerald followed by a trip to the MacLaren.

I found myself wandering into Matt Bahen's exhibit "Gravity's Faith" for the fourth, maybe fifth time this summer. His works are large scale paintings amass with thick layers of paint giving them sculptural depth.  When viewed right up close or from the side the forms and figures in the paintings looked altered or askew. At just the right distance I felt part of the imagined landscapes he's created. They are luminous. I found myself peeking and looking up and around corners and edges of the structures that have no other sides.  

Then I felt it … that moment … that moment when you know that in actually the art you're viewing has gone unchanged but you see it and feel it in a whole new way. That moment when you know you've changed.  

In June when I first saw Bahen's paintings with the odd stray dogs in abandoned buildings I didn't give it a second thought. Now in light of stories online about packs of dogs in downtown Detroit combined with little time to visit family in Windsor leave me feeling an urgency to reconnect with home.

As we head into September and a new dance season, this feeling of approaching the unchanged anew can come with a return to class, or revisiting a piece of choreography. You may find you have new strengths, new challenges, or are working with the same strengths and challenges in new settings.

As was noted in Shakespeare's Hamlet, art is a mirror held up to nature.

Participation in arts and culture provides us with a way to intersect with our own consistencies and variables. Though this reflection is individual, our interactions with art and culture are often through shared experience. 

Over the summer alone I've experienced the energy of an art opening, the group dynamic of a dance class, the pulse of heavy bass of the music at the club, the crowd singing along to a band playing at a pub, moshing and moving on the dace floor at punk night, outdoor movies under the stars, attempting to play ukulele at a bon fire, and bringing a good book to the beach and chilling with friends. 

… back to Bahen … the title of the show has sat on my chest and mulled about in my mind all summer.  For those of you who have danced with me, you will likely see the direct connection between the movement approaches I love (through Humphrey/Limón's use of gravity and momentum for movement) and the musings below.

"Gravity's Faith"  

A trust in the unknown balanced with the reality of a constant force?
Knowing what we can and can't control?

A willingness to fall as we stumble through the last week of August towards autumn, to the blank pages of new notebooks and onwards to new experiences.


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