By Amanda McLaughlin:
But What About the Soul that Grows in Darkness:* An Introduction to Gerry Trentham's Apology -from Frank O'Hara's Ave Maria
Apology: the word itself reads like a melancholic sigh, the long vowels carrying the ghosts of regret, sadness, shame, and, perhaps, tenuous hope for acceptance and forgiveness. And while apologies may, indeed, be necessary--the sorrowful husband with roses and tears after forgetting the anniversary, to use, perhaps, a trite if pervasive example--the act can also carry the iniquitous shadows of personal debt, shame, or even vindictive retribution. Gerry Trentham's collaborative new piece explores these darker themes of the apology; Apology dramatizes the confessions that might be extracted from the oppressed or the persecuted, as they are shamed into disbelief and subsequent repentance. And yet Apology is not simply a response to society's bastardized expectations of apology, but an interdisciplinary exploration and celebration of "the falling body, the falling nation from triumph, and the shame of the both the oppressed and the oppressor."
An internationally acclaimed choreographer, dancer, performer, and vocalist, Trentham, the founder and Artistic Director of pounds per square inch performance, conceived of the exhibit as "moving visual art piece, rather than a classically 'performed' work." The exhibit, a collaboration with Pennsylvanian visual artist Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff, Toronto filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar, Toronto video artist Kaija Siirala, Buffalo video artist Jesse Deganis Librera, and with the dramaturgical assistance of renowned Butoh artist Denise Fujiwara, is more than simply an interdisciplinary partnership; rather, it hopes to "blur the definitions of contemporary/classical art forms" and rewrite the very coordinates of what defines or characterizes an artistic discipline. Indeed, the collaborating artists pushed Trentham beyond his initial "thesis"--to use, perhaps, an inappropriately clinical word--and have encouraged him to confront, directly, how "truly challenging, for the audience and the performed, the content of the work may be." The current piece, a work in progress, combines Colvin-Woodruff's physical body casts, with the video artist's filmic experiments that project onto Trentham's falling body, "hidden secrets and oppressions" that explode into and mark the physical, breathing space.
Apology will be presented today and tomorrow (January 18th-19th) at 7PM at the Buffalo Arts Studio Joanna Angie Gallery. The artists hope to utilize this preliminary showing as an opportunity to test the integration of visual and performative elements, and receive feedback from the audience. After this initial showing, the final creation will open at Dance Space 509 in Toronto, on April 19th, 3013; the project will then return to Buffalo during its touring phase, and will also exhibit in Pittsburgh, New York, and Montreal.
offered the unique opportunity to view and contribute to a work in its final
editing process; admission to the event is through donation. Buffalo Arts
Studio is located at 2495 Main
in Buffalo. For more information on the
exhibit, and for gallery hours, etc, please visit Buffalo Art Studio's website
or call 716.833.4450. For more
information on Gerry Trentham and pounds
per square inch performance, please see http://www.poundspersqureinch.net
Image: Kaija Siirala