“A landscape is a series of figures dancing through space and time.” Marlene Rye
“Motion” is a an exciting collaborative piece conceptualized by painter Marlene Rye, dancers, Beth Rye Znosko of Clark Dance Theatre and Margaret Bowrys of Northampton MA. “Motion” will include a public dance performance at the Oxbow Gallery in Northampton, as well as a body of landscape paintings inspired by, and created in conjunction with, a series of dance performances.
The show will run from July 4th – August 4th, with the opening July 13th from 5-8 pm. Included in the opening will be both choreographed and improvisational dance, as well as a live painting performance by the artist Marlene Rye at 7pm. The show will include paintings that were inspired by the dancers as well as a series of photographs of the dancers also used in the process of making the work.
There is a natural, evident, and exciting connection between what Rye sees in the landscape, and dancers movements. Landscape has always been seen by Rye as a series of figures dancing in space. Trees, vines and under story react to each other and the ground in an organic and anthropomorphic fashion. As quoted in the Look Book a publication of One Artist Road in Santa Fe, “Rye paints nature through the eyes of a child, capturing the magical and revealing that secret space where trees are dancers, circus performers, magicians, and all things fantastical.”
Watching dancers in the studio, Rye feels as if her paintings are being performed before her eyes as they become actualized in paint. Initial color, light and a loose composition come from photographs of the landscape, but as the painting progresses, the dancers become the sole driving force behind the work. Often the dancers will suggest movements or shapes made from their bodies to help Marlene find the painting.
Through working with Marlene Rye the dancers are being stretched in new ways. Traditional dance moves are being replaced by new and exciting ways to move. Dancers are being asked to produce more authentic movements and not worry so much about how “pretty” something looks. They are also encouraged to really think about both the negative and positive spaces that they are forming. Rye inspires the performers through her description of the landscape which is often explained through her own body, forcing them to think in new ways about movement quality. Movements can appear soft and fragile and still be very strong. There can be fast staccato movements coupled with a slow transfer of energy from shape to shape.