In Space with Birds
Date: May 08,2010
Time: 07:30 PM - 09:00 PM
Teaming up with local choreographers, Meridian Gallery presents In Space With Birds, an evening of site-specific dance and performance. For this event, four artists will present world premieres on the third floor of the gallery, seated above 50 works by Morris Graves commemorating his 100th birthday.
Morris Graves (1910 - 2001) was a largely self-taught artist closely associated with the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. His paintings, often small works on paper, were among the earliest to synthesize Eastern aesthetics and philosophy with the American Transcendental tradition. In his own words, Graves was working "to evolve a changing language of symbols, a language with which to remark upon the qualities of our mysterious capacities which direct us toward ultimate reality."
Performance Artist Tessa Wills will premiere a video work in response to Graves' paintings of birds. Her work, using footage of English Starlings contrasted with athletic movement of her cast of dancers, is centered around the boldness in his representation of fragile subjects, the irrefutable nature of physical presence, and the marks it leaves in its absence. Wills, who is based between San Francisco and the UK, has a postgraduate degree from P.A.R.T.S., in Brussels and is completing an MA in Choreography from Middlesex University in London.
Sarah Sass premieres "the portrait series", in collaboration with Amy Helmstetter and Phoenicia Pettyjohn. Inspired by Morris Graves' portraits of birds, Sass creates movement portraits that capture and reveal the essence of each performer. The work incorporates voice portraits, photographic self-portraits taken daily by each dancer, and commissioned portraits by visual artists George Sukar and Richard Something. Sarah Sass formed peck peck dance ensemble in collaboration with Sean McMahon. They have collaborated and produced seven annual seasons together. Lately she has begun investing improvisation as performance and is working independently on performance projects.
Erin Mei-Ling Stuart is the Artistic Director of Emspace Dance, whose work has been described by Rita Felciano in the San Francisco Bay Guardian: "creating spare but incisive characters and relationships is something at which choreographer Mei-Ling Stuart has become masterful. You laugh and weep with these people even as you recognize yourself in them." Stuart will present a short dance film entitled If I Ever Tell You, made in 2007 during a Djerassi Residency, chosen for the thematic parallels to Graves' paintings of a complex relationship to nature. She will also premiere a site-specific piece for the gallery.
Choregrapher Michelle K. Lynch will premiere a solo performance and video work. In this piece, for which she hand-crocheted a set measuring 35 feet, she considers the femininity of Graves' materials and the strength of his visual composition. Lynch is a performance-maker whose recent work has been centered around creating fabric. Through this, she explores ideas of permanence, fragility, time and the precarious relationship between construction and destruction. Lynch received an MA in Dance Theatre from LABAN, London, and currently lives and works in San Francisco.
The performance event is curated by Lindsay Stegeman-Levesque, San Francisco-based choreographer and artist, and Michelle K. Lynch for the Meridian Gallery. They will host a question and answer following the performance.