The vision for "Out of the Frame" began with the idea of making paintings literally come to life. Having gone to a number of Hubbard Street Dance performances, I was excited by the idea of collaborating to make this a reality.
I spoke with the head of Hubbard, Glenn Edgerton, (March of 2018) and was over the moon that he liked the idea. Looking through their calendar, they only had one open week the whole year. The dancers could work to develop a site specific piece Aug 6-9 and then we could have the show the 10th (2nd Friday in Pilsen).
In April I brought a cardboard frame and asked Peter Hinsdale to come take photos so I'd have good references from which to paint. The only instructions I gave the dancers were to go through the opening of the frame in some way, try to stay within the outside edge, and hide their faces as much as possible. The rest was up to the dancers... and they completely exceeded my expectations. Peter took nearly 1300 photos over a 2 hour period.
The amount of useable photos was a bit overwhelming. Getting it down to 10 or less for the show was quite a challenge. Creating the paintings took many steps: formatting the pieces in the computer, printing off stencils, cutting them by hand. Next I needed to start spray painting the frames onto wood panels.
Then the frames needed to be masked off in order to paint the dancers. I started with the background, a middle tone for the skin, 2 layers of highlights, 2 layers of shadows, and ending with a day of hand painting the more intricate details.
We were very lucky to be able to partner with the Chicago Art Department in Pilsen for the venue. They have a beautiful space with a lot of history and character. Mike Nourse and Carris Adams were gracious in allowing us time and access to the space the entire week. I gave the dancers a very loose framework. I wanted them in all black or all white outfits (like in the paintings), to create tension in pairs throughout, and to culminate with all 6 of them moving together as one. The dancers took it from there. Rena Butler was the lead and everyone readily contributed. It was a beautiful process to see unfold over the 4 days.
The performances Aug 10th were moving and brilliant. I couldn't have been happier with the experience. I need to thank:
Glenn Edgerton, Carris Adams and Mike Nourse for coordinating the evening.
To the dancers: Rena Butler, Craig Black, Kellie Epperheimer, Kevin Shannon, Connie Shiau, and Myles Lavallee, thank you for making this idea truly come to life!
Ben Hood for helping me every step of the way.
Peter Hinsdale for capturing everything.
I truly hope it's not our last collaboration :)
photos curtesy of Peter Hinsdale and Mike Nourse