Sunday, December 2, 2012

Notebook: Tere O'Connor and Henri Matisse

Silas Riener, Michael Ingle, Oisin Monaghan in Poem. Photo: Ian Douglas
Tere O'Connor Dance—Secret Mary and Poem
New York Live Arts, Nov 27—Dec 1
  • Two very different sections to which a third will eventually be added
  • Secret Mary feels more akin to some of Tere's previous work: movement emanating from gestures, shaded with irony or facial expressions
  • Less trained technique that feels accessible
  • The dancers seem as if they have lots of secrets 

  • Poem feels more virtuosically technical in comparison, 40+ minutes of riveting movement, the five dancers doing ensemble variations, or split into 3s and 2s
  • Silas Riener, Cunningham star, dances; his peerless technique frees him to play with any movement, time and space-wise
  • Although all of the other dancers (Oisín Monaghan, Michael Ingle, Heather Olson, and Natalie Green) are superb in individual ways. O'Connor has always employed very talented dancers
  • The costumes defy gender stereotyping, with Riener in a childlike "sunsuit" and Monaghan in a smock
  • A men's trio of Busby Berkeley inspired radial formations shows off the mens' legs in a way more typical for women
  • While O'Connor occasionally quotes from code, like ballet, he primarily invents or discovers vocabulary that's familiar, yet also completely independent
  • I can't wait to see the entire three parts together when it's done.

Interior with Black Fern, 1948, oil on canvas, 116 x 89 cm.
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel.
c 2012 Succession H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society, NY
Matisse: In Search of True Painting
Metropolitan Museum, Dec 4—Mar 17

  • A stellar assemblage of wonderful Matisse paintings examining the process of painting a subject matter several times, thwarting the idea that Matisse did not carefully plan his compositions
  • Includes series of photographs taken during the stages of creating paintings
  • It also shows how Matisse was influenced by the work of his peers, notably Cézanne and Signac; several canvases show experiments with pointillism and Impressionist techniques
  • There are a couple of paintings that are familiar, but many of these are fresh to New York eyes
  • Matisse assembled compositions as much by blocking with color and pattern as with line
  • The vibrant Interior with Black Fern (1948) and Acanthus (Moroccan Landscape) (1912), among others, shows his brilliance with color
  • Includes loans from a wide range of museums such as Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Kunstmuseum Basel, Centre Pompidou, and from private collections
  • A thorough but not sprawling show of 49 paintings 
  • A shocking reminder that Matisse lived until 1954, really not that long ago!

Le Luxe II, 1907-08, distemper on canvas. 28.5 x 54.75". Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen,
J. Rump Collection. c 2012 Success H. Matisse/Artists Rights Society, NY 

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