Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last Rehearsals

_Kali puppet with Appetite Birdman_
Coming into the final stretch for the Shadow Theater.  With the performance opening on Nov. 3rd. rehearsals will have to wind down. Yet, strange things keep creeping in to this shadow puppet play. The moon will unexpectedly fall from the sky, a mountain range does not want to move into place, Kali does not want to bend her arm. And so it goes, each rehearsal unveiling some mischief that I blame on the demon cut-outs that torment Kali in the final scene. They obviously want more stage time.

Many worlds of thanks to all the wonderful people who have aided me in being able to present this performance art piece. First is the creator of the music, Larry Cohen. It is his original composition that sets the entire mood of the work.  Joan Harrison and fellow curators LuAnn Palazzo for allowing me the opportunity to exhibit. Susan Shulman and Ria Vanden Eynde, my fellow Kali artists who critiqued and offered suggestions. Last but not least my wife Karen, for agreeing to act the part of Kali.
We are dedicating this performance to Karen's mom, Gary, who passed away during the development of this project. We miss you Gary, our true multi-talented Kali goddess.

Editing the Seeking Kali blog submissions
All this takes place at the SAL Gallery on the CW Post campus of Long Island University on Nov. 3rd. The performances and videos are scheduled during the reception which runs from 5pm to 11.

I have also been working on a video of the submissions to the Seeking Kali artist call. The six minute video that will be shown features the 45 musicians, poets and visual artists who have contributed to date. The Seeking Kali artist call runs through the end of December for those interested in making a submission.

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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mobius Wednesday

_and this shameless promotion is on the back of the T-shirt_

As a follow up to the T-shirt merchandise I made for the Prostitution of Art show at Mobius last month, curator Jane Wang is featuring the participating artists on her PoArt blog.  My work is featured in her Oct. 4th post. I had some fun posting pictures of a few of the participating artists with my Mobius T-shirt design here on my blog (here).  In conversation with Jane I offered to continue to post pictures of anyone wearing the Mobius T. A win/win because I like supporting Mobius because it shows the kind of experimental art that often can't find a home in a traditional gallery setting. It's home for all that difficult art that's hard to package and often hard to even describe. It's about performance, sound and installation art that is best experienced first hand.
The following people were wearing the T-shirt during the Prostitution exhibit and photographed by Jason Turgeon's automated photobot.

Unidentified folks from the PoArt exhibit (email me with your contact info and I'll edit it in)

Grant Smith _ Mobius Artist

Tom Plsek _ Mobius Artist
The T-shirt edition was silk screened for the exhibit by my friends at the Red Barn Studios.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Into October

_A work in progress_ cut out silhouette characters for Seeking Kali Shadow Theater_
 These shadows are cast by the cut outs I've been working on for the Kali Shadow Theater. (the fish are ink on acetate) The Theater will be part of the Ray Johnson/A Book About Death exhibition opening on Nov.3rd.
The story line will be the the origins and manifestations of the goddess Kali. 
Larry Cohen, the Canadian composer, will be providing an original score to accompany the theater. You can listen to a sampling of Larry's complex and layered music here.

This takes place at the SAL Gallery on the CW Post campus of Long Island University. The exhibition features the original Book About Death as conceived by Matthew Rose who solicited artists from around the world to contribute a "page".  Actually we were asked to provide 500 copies of our page.  Last fall at the Emily Harvey Gallery in NYC visitors to the exhibit were asked to bring the pages home with them to form their own books.
Since it was first exhibited the ABAD has traveled the world to various museums and galleries and has inspired several collaborations between the artists who originally exhibited.
The Seeking Kali project is one of those sister projects and is a collaboration with myself and artists Ria Vanden Eynde (Belgium) and Susan Shulman (Canada).  Our online call has been running since mid August and we now have over 30 contributions of art, music and poetry (and over 3000 site visits!).

This new video is a compilation of the work from the Seeking Kali blog.

As works continue to roll in I'll be adding to this video and the final version containing submissions through 10/27 with be shown during the opening at SAL Gallery.

The great music on this video is the work of my son Ian Evertson, a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston. Our poetry submissions are read by Susan Shulman.

In fact, since working up this version of the video several new works have been posted on our Seeking Kali blog. A nice one is from my fellow blogger from New Zealand, Debrina Price-Ewan. Her blog "Debrina's Altered Art Diary" is always full of energy and a fun visit.

©Debrina Price-Ewen_Kali