Monday, November 21, 2011

Performance, Narrative and Art

Recently, our Art Seminar Professor Jerry Ropson asked our class to work on a project involving an interview with our fellow art students. He divided us into predetermined groups of three and four.  We were also asked to provide a couple of you tube videos related to our art practice.

The initial questions I asked, where based on the Proust Questionnaire, acting as a jumping off point enabling us to get to know more about ourselves and each other. They also lead to more questions and further discussion. We produced our own video that consisted of actual video taped interviews. I will post this at a later date once they have been edited. We will be presenting this project in class tomorrow.

Ideas On Performance and How It  Relates To Narrative:

CM  Performance I am not so interested in. I am not a performance artist, though I have been involved in  studying the elements of developmental drama and comedia del arte/street theatre in the past. I am very interested in archetypes that also run through many theatrical classical types, and how this translates into my painting through imagery of mythology, story telling and narrative.

I think we all have elements to some degree that resemble archetypes and are often played out in persona or personal masks or roles we play in life. I find this intriguing and psychologically I try to learn about the human condition, through archetype and myth in the form of story telling, legend, regardless if they are fictional or not.

RT  The line between who you are and your art, for example K and I have a lot of self portraiture in our art. Do you feel your art has any form of self portraiture? Or does it identify with who you are?

CM  Well, I can't help but feel that this is going to happen because it is an expression of yourself (art). I love portraiture and this had been my passion in the past and still is, but now my work is more about a kind of inner self portraiture. 

RT  Yes that makes sense. So does your art take on more like a narrative of the inner self then?

CM  Yes

CM Proust Questions
1. Your favourite character in fiction?
2. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
3. Your favourite painter?
4. Your favourite occupation?
5. What's your greatest regret?
6. What's your greatest achievement?
1. My favourite character in fiction when I was young, was always Snow White. I think I wanted to be her.  I identified I think because I thought of her as being kind and sweet like her. I wanted to emulate her. She had all those ugly funny looking friends (dwarfs) she lived with but she loved them regardless and they all loved her too. They never resented her for being beautiful. I guess she is still my favourite fictional character, because of the same reasons.

2. If  I could change one thing about myself  I would like to be less of a procrastinator. This problem of procrastination directly affects my life. I can't wait around to get motivated or inspired and though I don't do this now, I still procrastinate at times, when it comes to being productive creatively as a daily habit. So that's why I write regularly in journals, it helps me to be disciplined and keeps the creative wheels greased and juices flowing. I'm not sure how exactly this works but I know it does. It has something to do with my unconscious and the right side of my brain I think.

3. My favourite painter is Andrew Wyethe, who uses egg tempera. After being able to see his work in NYC I was absolutely blown away with the masterful mark making. My favourite occupation has been being a Youth Care Worker working with troubled kids especially when I could use my skills as an creative person and working with horses as well. Animals, art and kids is one of the very best combinations ever.

5. My greatest regret would be not finishing my Fine Art degree from NSCAD. However I don't hold on to this regret, the main thing is, I am going to finish my BFA this coming Spring at Mount Allison and I am so happy and satisfied with this wonderful experience later in my later life as a Crone!

6. My greatest achievement?  I have had a few but returning to University too finish my degree at the age of 56 would be the greatest achievement to date.

RT That's funny because I did a big project on snow white in 2nd year in was more about the romanticizing of Disney characters though and the unrealistic depiction of women etc.

I procrastinate too! I would definitely change that, or my fickleness. I'm really bad at making decisions, because I always want to do everything!

RT  How do you feel about acting on stage vs street theatre?

Do you feel like we have different personas or selves. Do you represent yourself always in one way, or in many different ways; for example do you act the same in every situation, or do you act differently sometimes..why do you think people act or in different ways in different situations?

CM  Instead of studying Comedia del arte I should have applied to Second City. I love Second City Improv! That would have been my dream come true!

CM   Street theatre is right there on the street with close contact with the audience, I love that. Anything is possible, anything can happen. I loved the immediacy improv element living in the present moment and working off of your fellow performers. I see it like the stage is more like the big commercial gallery. Street theatre is like the artist run centre.

CM  I just try to be myself but sometimes there are circumstances when you need to act accordingly. But I don't often find myself in these situations. Some folks don't know who they are, know themselves very well or aren't comfortable in their own skin and so try to conform or are like camelions becoming what they think will please others in whatever situation they find themselves in. That stinks.

KH  Proust Questions

1. I'm not sure I really have a favourite character in fiction. I don't read a whole lot and i think that with movies and tv shows i tend to be more interested in the actor than the character itself. but someone who comes to mind is Sally Bowles in cabaret, as portrayed by the fabulous Liza Minnelli. I guess the thing I'm interested in, is that she tries so hard to be this outgoing sexy type character, but you can tell that she really is putting it all on and inside she's kind of a mess.

2. If  I could change one thing about myself, the obvious answers for me here would be, to go with the appearance based things, like I wish I were taller, thinner and my boobs weren't so big. But that wouldn't really help anything in the long run, so maybe something like not procrastinating would be good for me too. i definitely do it enough. or just that I wish i could just be more motivated in general.

3. Who is my favourite painter? I don't think I have a favourite painter, necessarily. I appreciate painting but it rarely grabs me the same way some other forms of art do. I've also always had a hard time naming one particular artist as my favourite. I'll say that last week in New York City, I  saw a Louise Bourgeois sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum, that I unexpectedly loved, which gave me a new appreciation for her.

4. An occupation I've had? I haven't really had any I particularly liked. My least favourite would have to be a tie between waitressing at my grandparents' restaurant with a horrible head waitress who did nothing but take smoke breaks and tips, and summer camps for 3262247473 kids who didn't want to be there.

5. What's my greatest regret? All the things I haven't done.

6.What's my greatest achievement? Something I haven't done yet.

CM  I agree R the female Disney personas are abysmal. Though I'm not sure when I was little I thought about how beautiful she was but I thought it was strangely curious why she was living with dwarfs, and I found it lovely they got along so well and how they had such affection for one another

CM   K do you identify with that character Sally Bowles? Or do you identify with Liza Minelli? Is motivation peculiar to artists K or is there a reason you feel motivation is an issue for you personally?

KH  It might just be that I’m trying to find a way to justify using Liza Minnelli as
my answer. I don't think I really identify with her, necessarily, because she
comes from this entirely different background that i can't even begin to
understand. I guess I'm just drawn to this persona that she seems to have
created for herself. Her whole image and the way she acted from just seemed
very deliberate, and now that she's older she kind of just lets the crazy show
through. she's been through a lot, she's a tough lady.

I think most, if not all, artists have motivation problems to some extent. Then
I look around me and see everyone working and making these amazing things and I
feel like for me it is a bit more of a problem. Not just motivation to do art,
but motivation to do anything at all. Sometimes sleeping just seems more
attractive to me than engaging with the real world.

RT Proust Questions

1. I have a lot of favourite characters in fiction, mostly in Disney movies and musicals. I love the Little Mermaid and Belle. Also Alfaba from Wicked, Mimi from RENT, Nina and Vanessa from In the Heights, Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Meg from Phantom, Meg from Hercules, Pocahontas, Danielle from Ever After. That's just to name a few. I spend a lot of my time pretending to be characters I am not, like whenever I sing, I'm probably not paying attention to other people, I'm just acting in my own world.

2. I also wish I could sing/act/dance well enough to be on Broadway, or some big musical.

3. I don't look at much painting, but I saw Eric Zener's paintings in NY and I loved them, mostly because of the subject matter but also because they are very photo-realistic and photo is my thing. The paintings are of people underwater;a lot of them are falling or jumping into the water. They seem suspended in space. To me it's like the freedom I feel when I am in water, I have a powerful connection with water that I find hard to explain. I especially love the way the human body looks and feels in water. It is cool and beautiful.

4. My favourite and least favourite occupation was tree planting. It sucked but it was also an amazing experience.

5. I don't really believe in regretting things. I think you learn from everything you do and that makes you a better person.

6. I don't know abut achievement but up to this point some of the best decisions I have made where. to stay home and study fine arts here to quit tree planting and come home for my dad's birthday this summer and to go see the musical "In The Heights" in Scranton, New York last weekend.

CM  It's wonderful to look at artist  or art that can change our minds, change our art, and change our opinions!

CM You can act, dance and sing already R.. You're a triple threat!

RT  A favourite occupation? A job the would be great? Something to do with theatre and art and maybe kids.

CM  Interesting what you say about water and how you identify with that. I also am the same. When I studied Mime I learned this is the element I identify with. We really all do have an element we are most like I believe.

Regrets aren't healthy no point in worrying about the past.
Rena what do you consider to be some of the most important lessons you have learned through your mistakes as an art student over the past four years?


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Betsy Grant said...

Interesting post. I think our art says more about who we are than are words.

Unknown said...

Perhaps the reason people are visual artists is because we don't find words enough to express ourselves. I think this goes for most artists. We are always attempting to transcend words and language, even writers I think attempt to do this.