Sunday, October 24, 2010

Behind the Scenes

_Seeking Kali Shadow Theater_behind the screen_
The opening of the Ray Johnson/A Book About Death exhibit on Nov. 3rd on the Long Island University CW Post campus SAL Gallery features a night of performance and video.  Seeking Kali is a project I've collaborated on with fellow artists Ria Vanden Eynde and Susan Shulman for almost a year now. We've been involved in book arts, running an online exhibition and now we present a performance piece based on our look into the myth and paradox of the Hindu goddess Kali.

Several of the silhouettes used in the performance
The theater has been my pet project for about six weeks now. The concept has been in my head and sketchbooks for almost a decade since first watching a Nang shadow theater in Thailand where I was once a visiting artist. I was very impressed with the simple tales yet elaborate cut out silhouettes the puppeteers used in their humble performances. The ones I saw were performed using only a sheet with a lantern for illumination.

original Ink drawing on acetate
In my version, I use a combination of live actors, puppets and hand painted scenery.  I am also very fortunate to have the help of a musical collaborator on this project.  Canadian composer Larry Cohen agreed to develop a sound environment for the action to occur in. Larry's work on the musical score adds immeasurably to the atmosphere of the performance. He certainly has put in as many hours on this as I have on the puppets and scenery paintings. An example of Larry's personal work in video and sound can be found at this link.  The following video shows about a minute of segments from a recent rehearsal. You can hear Larry's musical work although not as well as it will be presented in the live version of the production.

This promises to be one of the largest exhibitions based on the original ABAD conceived and executed by Matthew Rose (and 485 friends) last fall in NYC.  The CW Post exhibit includes the entire original exhibit as well as an almost equal number of new contributions. The evening of the opening is packed with performance art and video.  Our Seeking Kali collaborative group will also be exhibiting an original video that contains all submissions to our artist call received to date. Please consider joining our Seeking Kali Facebook group for news and exhibition announcements.

skyscraper bird men (after Leger) ink on acetate set element
Congratulations in advance to curators Joan Harrison and LuAnn Palazzo for their hard work and determination in mounting this exhibition.
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