Due to bad weather, Claire Barratt’s multimedia art installation, Dance is the new visual art at The Flood Gallery went a little under the radar when it opened three weeks ago. If you still haven’t seen it, don’t worry: Barratt will be hosting a special closing reception this Saturday, Jan. 29, from noon to 4 p.m.
Barratt shines not only as a performance artist, but also in her ability to push boundaries. Something that is in danger of being overly sentimental — such as her fairytale video “Chloe” — maintains interest with its odd camera angles, rough edits and offbeat costuming. Though it’s not clear how the videos conceptually relate to each other, or to the paper surrounding them, it all works as an exercise in serendipity. In a moment when two videos randomly sync up with a crunching sound and a gestural movement, one gets the feeling that everything is exactly how it ought to be.
In my experience, Fringe Festivals are always hit-or-miss events.
I've left venues sometimes wondering why they don't just call them Cringe Festivals. But ultimately the cringe factor is what makes this kind of thing so fun. It's like watching the Oscars and secretly hoping for something unexpected to happen -- like a stumble on the red carpet, an awkward acceptance speech, or a win for a movie that actually deserves it.
Buying a ticket to these events is akin to playing Russian Roulette -- especially if you're new to town and have no idea who anyone is. The key here is to maintain an open mind! Even if it's bad, it's worth it.
Just glancing over the scheduled acts I can honestly say that this year's lineup looks more polished than previous years. Here are some of my predictions of what to expect:
•Bebe Theatre events in the past have run the gamut from comedic, to bawdy, to arty to dull to refreshingly cheese-ball. I love going to Bebe fringe events because I can always expect the unexpected.
•Black Mountain College Museum performances look like they will be high quality and appropriately experimental. You'll get your money's worth but maybe not a fun story to tell your friends later.
•Expect more circus and burlesque acts in the River District's Wedge Building--an intriguing lineup of dance, music, theaterical and interactive performances.
• TONIGHT at the Asheville Art Museum is Pecha Kucha, an entertaining slide presentation to provoke dialogue. $5
While fringe theatre refers to theater that is not mainstream, Fringe Festivals are notable for the unjuried nature of the performances. In general, production expenses are kept low and casts are kept small. The original Fringe Festival took place in Adelaide Scotland in the early 1970's as a reaction to mainstream theatre events. Since then Fringe Festivals have grown in popularity and are produced in cities all over the globe, from Melbourne to Minnesota.
One weeks remains to check out the creative hijinks of Asheville artist Julie Armbruster. Her show, "Sudden Bursts" hangs at The Early Girl Eatery until January 23rd. Armbruster's imagined creatures are like manifestations of our our inner dialogue. Maybe that's why we love them so.
Russian-born artist Vadim Bora passed away January 5th, 2011. Bora was a well-known Asheville sculptor, painter, teacher and advocate for the local arts community.
"Bora came to the United States from Russia for freedom, both personal and artistic. That's why he explored such a range of work, from fantastical paintings to sculpture based on historical photographs.
He was an artist with many identities: a sculptor, painter, drawer, jewelry maker and poet. But as a person, a singular character emerges: a generous friend, with boundless energy and an enthusiasm for art — and the grand world that inspired him."
"Bora himself seemed to glow, greeting visitors to his studio, generously pouring wine, encouraging us all to enjoy. At the final downtown art walk of 2010 (Friday, Dec. 3), I arrived at Bora's gallery to find it sparsely populated. Hearing voices from across the hall, I peeked into Bora's studio (which occupied the other half of the upstairs space at 30 1/2 Battery Park) and found that that's where the party was happening. Local artists and art enthusiasts crowded the space, talking, drinking wine and looking at Bora's works in progress. The artist himself was holding court, offering wine and trying to adjust the heat. There was nothing particularly special about the evening, and yet it felt like a grand celebration — a testament to the artist's all-too-short, but vividly-colorful life."
DANCE IS THE NEW VISUAL ART A video installation by Claire Elizabeth Barratt
OPENING RECEPTION Saturday, January 8th
7pm – 10pm FLOOD GALLERY Phil Mechanic Building on Roberts Street RiverArts District – Asheville NC
An installation of multiple videos on the subject of dance and movement.
Videos are all created by Cilla Vee Life Arts director Claire Elizabeth Barratt in collaboration with numerous artists from a variety of disciplines.
Collaborators include: Kimathi Moore – Asheville NC – composer Charles Elmer – Asheville NC – videographer Michael Folliet – Asheville NC – videographer Dr T – Boston MA – VJ video artist Walter Wright – Lowell MA – sound artist Randy F Simon – NYC / Jamaica – videographer Tatsuya Nakatani – Easton PA / Japan – sound artist Natasha Royka – Ottawa ON – dance videographer
The installation incorporates sculptural forms created of paper, fabric & wire that serve not only as screens for the videos, but also as devices to shape the space. Sound installation by acousmatic composer Dr. Rick Nance is produced by materials used for the installation.
Claire Elizabeth Barratt is a trained dancer, but she prefers to call herself a “motion sculptor.“ It’s a term she came up with while working as a figure model in New York City art schools for five years starting in 2002. Shifting from one pose to the other, she discovered that the contemplative movement was similar to dance. “Organically, it just started happening in my performances,” she says. Read more: Motion Pictures; Verve Magazine Jan. 2011.