Gesture and the immaterial spirit of Colour.
When I was a child, I remember a friendship with a choreographer I knew through my parents. She was a dancer who had been cruelly struck down with polio in her twenties. She spent the remainder of her life in an Iron Lung. I remember seeing her and marvelling at her determination just to breath and to be alive. She used to love seeing me and I would ask to see her. She used to show me the paintings she had done using her mouth, They were amazing fluid colour filled paintings of dancers. I was always fascinated by this; wondering how on earth it could be done. From this time forward I knew that painting was the way I wanted to truly connect with the world around me. Painting and colour became a way of expressing my inner sensory world.
Everyone you have loved was performed in 2020 just immediately (within a month) prior to the Pandemic and feels now like a celebration before everything changed in the world. It is a Sensory piece and an improvisation. The Artist Daria Martin says “Synaesthesia can open up approaches to learning, perceiving and communicating. Approaches that might be latent but suppressed by our culture”. she goes on to say about how Synaesthesia can “contribute socially or artistically to a matrix attuned to other thresholds of sensitivity.” I have always felt strongly that somehow translating my own Synaesthesia can open up a new form or translation and communication. This can be seen strongly in this performance, which although improvisatory and “in the moment” connects through painting, sound and movement as if choreographed.
The performance was a one off and though short and transitory, was borne out of many years of collaboration and a great artistic friendship between collaborators formed over the past ten years.
The performance happened just a week before the pandemic and lockdown and is a collaborative improvisation and begins with myself working from the outside, reacting to Gestures via painting dance, sound and movement. The main premise for the piece was to convey the immaterial spirits of sound and of colour ending with coloured smoke disappearing, and our breath drifting upwards to the night sky. The text I used in the film documentation is from James Joyce’s visually inspiring “Finnegan’s Wake” of which I have been drawing inspiration , and also drawing from a visual poem by Tom Paulin on Jackson Pollock called “I am Nature” reflecting upon Jackson Pollock and in particular relation to his upbringing and ancestry. This all seemed to resonate well with the premise of the performance. A moment, A performance, the act of Painting somehow containing everything .The title is from a sound poem by Maggie Nichols, written after her exposure to Fredrick Engel’s Dialectics of Nature” and reflects how the experiences of love over time can be expressed in one moment in different gestures.
The film clips here are from two sections of the performance which seemed to be me the focal points of the performance. They are certain points when the body remembers a gesture.
Gesture 1. One of my earliest and powerful memories is of my aunt Ruby. I remember her holding me close, her warmth and love and the way she held me tight. Ruby adored and brought up my father when his mother died when only a small child, just immediately after my father returned from the war. Even as small child, in that instance in Polegate in Sussex looking at a windmill, I understood that there was a powerful feeling of love and connection being passed down to me.
Gesture 2. For this part of the performance, I wanted the focus to turn away from the act of painting and for the colour to fill and drift off into the January night sky. My father had recently died and I remembered a moment during his last night alive on earth, looking outside the hospital side room at Wycombe General Hospital and looking at the late evening light illuminating the scudding cumulus clouds. I was aware of his final breaths and connecting with the outside and beyond.