Sunday, March 27, 2011

installation will invite art crawl crowd inside

Installation will invite art crawl crowd inside
4:40 PM, Mar. 25, 2011 |

Stills from Amelia Winger-Bearskin's video series Dance Sequence, which will be shown Saturday at Twist Art Gallery as part of the monthly art crawl.

Written by
MiChelle Jones
for The Tennessean
Entertainment Arts & Culture

What: Dance Sequence, new installation by Amelia Winger-Bearskin
Where: Twist Art Gallery, Arcade #73
When: Saturday through April 30; opening reception 6-9 p.m. Saturday during the First Saturday Art Crawl.
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Admission: Free
Contact: 1-888-535-5286 or
There's going to be one thing missing from performance artist Amelia Winger-Bearskin's upcoming installation at Twist Art Gallery, and that is live performance art.

Sort of.

Instead of staging a performance featuring herself, Winger-Bearskin's Dance Sequence will engage next week's First Saturday Art Crawl crowd in a display blurring the line between performer and audience.

"I want it to be a space that people feel like they are stepping inside of rather than it being a window that they're looking into," she says.

Dance Sequence is a series of one- to four-minute videos of scenes taken from film musicals, each accompanied by an original piece of music or sound created by Winger-Bearskin. The Twist show will include 10 of the 15 videos in the series.

The installation will continue in Twist's second room with 150 small paintings in gold frames. Ranging from palm-size to 5 inches square, these enamel on glass paintings were conceived as "slices" of the videos similar to single cells of an animated production. Winger-Bearskin also likens them to slide-mounted cells prepared for viewing under a microscope.

Playing with light

Winger-Bearskin originally planned a live performance component featuring either herself or dancers following her choreography and wearing costumes onto which the videos would be projected. She abandoned that approach after a trial run in a space similar to that of Twist proved to be a tight fit.

She decided instead to project the videos so that they will alternately be obscured and highlighted by audience members moving in the space.

"It'll be like a stretched video image that will encompass the room with the lenses, mirrors and crystals so it creates a scattering of the light," Winger-Bearskin explains. "I've created videos that I purposely did symmetrically so that no matter how they're stretched or reflected they always look the way I intended. Even if you were to flip it around backwards or turn it upside down it'll look the same."

In the case of Twist, they'll create a domed effect in the gallery's first room, resulting in a space filled with kaleidoscopic images of dance, from Bollywood-esque numbers to classical ballet.

Projecting art, experiences

Part of the idea for this installation of Dance Sequence is to re-create the feeling of light experienced at concerts or in dance clubs, along with the freedom of movement that comes with being in such spaces.

"Could we experience something like that not in a drunken hookup environment; could we experience something like that in an art experience where we're allowed to move our bodies in different ways but without it having the connotations of a club," she wondered.

On the other hand, she also wants to play off the club-like atmosphere that often develops during the art crawl.

"It feels like a Mardi Gras or something, and I'd like the performance to highlight that that is a performance," she says.

She's also hoping to re-create one of her earliest memories of art, that of the beading, silverwork and other art classes she took from the elders in her community of Native Americans.

"When you go to a powwow and people dance in a circle, you see this scattered prismatic light everywhere because all the light shines off their very sparkly costumes. I'm hoping to replicate that so it feels more like a powwow of images and sound than a discothèque," she says. "It's really beautiful to see those as light patterns rather than just on fabric."

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