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Dance: Before, After, During & Past Moves

For Release: March 11, 2011

Two new exhibitions open at The Art Gym Sunday, April 3, with a reception and performance from 3 to 6 p.m. Both exhibitions continue through Sunday, May 15. (Closed for Easter: Friday -- Sunday, April 22-24)

A gallery talk with choreographers from both exhibitions will be held Thursday, April 28 at noon.

EXHIBITS

Dance: before, after, during
Preparatory materials, documentation and performances by Linda Austin, Susan Banyas, Tahni Holt and Linda K. Johnson

Past Moves
Selected archival footage of Portland dance performances in the 1970s and 1980s

PERFORMANCES

Sunday, April 3
Linda K. Johnson 3:15 p.m.
Linda Austin 4 p.m.
Tahni Holt 4:45 p.m.

Saturday, April 30 and May 14 at 2 p.m.
Susan Banyas

More performances to be announced.

The Art Gym's regular hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admissions is free. For additional details, call 503.699.6243.

The Art Gym, Marylhurst University
Curator: Terri Hopkins

Dance: before, after, during opens in the gallery's main space and presents preparatory materials, documentation and performances by four Portland-based choreographers -- Linda Austin, Susan Banyas, Tahni Holt and Linda K. Johnson.

Dance: before, after, during looks at how choreographers work. In dance, the before and after may remain, but the "during" is fleeting. Each of the choreographers uses visual materials as part of her creative process. The exhibition will include those materials and documentation of performance. All four choreographers are creating new work for the exhibition.

Linda K. Johnson will present Walking to Know -- Satellite on April 3 at 3:15 p.m. She integrates the acts of walking, collecting and creating dance. For Satellite, Johnson mailed more than 150 paper bags to friends and colleagues with an invitation to take a walk somewhere and send back pieces of that experience, such as a thought, an object, a drawing or a photograph. Johnson will use these pieces of experience as the score for creating this new work.

Linda Austin's performance at 4 p.m. on April 3 is titled A head of time. In the performance, the "before" is suggested by displaying 12 months of Austin's video movement diary -- a type of dancer's sketchbook -- on television monitors. The "before" also is a stack of 250 to 300 blankets, afghans, throws and quilts, which will be used in the performance. As A head of time draws to a close, the blankets will be re-stacked. This residue of materials combined with video documentation of the performance will form the "after" of Austin's work for the exhibition.

Tahni Holt will present a work in progress on April 3 at 4:45 p.m. titled SUNSHINE. The basic elements are two dancers, the space and a huge pile of cardboard boxes. Holt's intent is to expose the inner sanctuary of the rehearsal process and to leave visual remnants and artifacts from the performance behind. A video of the performance will be included in the exhibition.

On April 30 and May 14, Susan Banyas will perform with the It's Been a Busy Week Ensemble, a group of dancers who meet weekly. Using Banyas's image cards, photographs and notebook pages, the ensemble will offer performance experiments that illustrate the fragments from a busy week that expose what lies below the surface of our "busi-ness." At the conclusion of the performance, the cards and photographs will remain, ready for future use.

Past Moves: Selected Archival Footage of Dance Performance in the 1970s and 1980s focuses on documentation of the work of the Portland Dance Theater and the companies that grew out of it.

Portland State University dance professor Judy Patton was a member of Portland Dance Theater and subsequent companies. Patton is digitizing a selection of the video documentation of works by Portland Dance Theater members Jann McCauley Dryer, Bonnie Merrill, Gregg Bielemeier, Cathy Evleshin and her. This video will be projected in The Art Gym's Gallery 2.

Writer and critic Barry Johnson is writing an essay about dance of this period. Barry Johnson writes:

"In the small world of Portland modern dance, almost everyone has had at least a brush with Portland Dance Theater and its dancer/choreographers in one way or another, even though the company closed its doors at the end of the 1970s. The company's alums include several important teachers and choreographers -- among them, Judy Patton, Gregg Bielemeier, Jann Dryer, Catherine Evleshim, Pat Wong and Bonnie Merrill -- whose innovative, athletic, humorous approach to dance is still an important part of Portland's dance DNA today.

"At the same time, a movement-based group, founded by Susan Banyas and Louise Steinman, called So&So&So&SO, was at the heart of the performance art movement in the city, working with Elaine Velazquez on early video/performance works.

"Past Moves gathers some of the best surviving video from the early days of modern dance here, so we can take a peek at the spirited work of the time and start to understand how much we owe those pioneers of dance and performance art in Portland."

About The Art Gym

The Art Gym is celebrating 30 years of exhibitions, publications and conversations about contemporary art in the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 1980 by Marylhurst University, The Art Gym's mission is to increase public understanding of contemporary art in the region. Over the last three decades, The Art Gym has organized hundreds of exhibitions, published more than 60 exhibition catalogs and hosted numerous public conversations with artists in the gallery.

The Art Gym is a program of the Marylhurst University Department of Art & Interior Design, and is supported in part by the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Art Gym is a past recipient of the Governor's Arts Award.

The Art Gym is on the third floor of the BP John Administration Building at Marylhurst University, which is located one mile south of Lake Oswego on Highway 43.

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