Rhythm & Soul
In Ashland, the first Friday of any month is a celebration of art that spills out into the streets like a neighborhood party. Anticipating a popular venue, I arrive early at Bohemia Gallery & Framing. Final details are still settling as guitars and speakers are set up in the back near tables of wines and finger foods. I have the art to myself. Perfect.
media artist, Cate Strom, is a study of the poignant meanings that passageways assume in religious places. Based on photographs from Strom’s travels, richly layered compositions – scraps of metal and paper, fragments of thought and poem – glimmer and obscure with the texture of a memory varnished by perpetual recollection.
Paintings down the left wall invite an exploration of winged movements through blue spaces as marvelously fleshed figures relate to flight through avian dynamics. The series speaks of that essential, ethereal aspect of humanity, of the spirit that soars. In the last painting, a woman's figure shimmers as an animal leaps with feline grace. When asked about it, the artist, gallery co-owner Inger Jorgensen, explains that the cat signals a change in the work, and the end of her Blue Flight series.
As if people are arriving on queue, the gallery fills. World renown guitarist Jeff Pevar starts an incredible duo with Cornflower, the acclaimed percussion vocalist. Gathering near, the crowd responds to the loose, easy energy of the music. Those in conversation must lean in to hear each other as space near the musicians and wines fills, but the patrons are obviously enjoying the moment.
Gallery lights strike gold tones from the work along the opposite wall, casting a subtle glow. The series, by mixed
Bohemia synergizes into full swing celebration. Front Page: Change We Must By Cary Weigand. Below: Works from Cate Strom’s collection, Windows and Wings. Top Right: Inger Jorgensen stands before selections of her Blue Flight series. Back Page: Members of the Dancing People Company perform during a first Friday event at Bohemia Gallery & Framing in Ashland, Oregon.
At maximum capacity, crossing the gallery is a matter of strategy. Yeah, it’s crowded, but there is ample reason to stay. Meeting Cary Weigand, whose sculptures are placed throughout the gallery, is exactly that.
A dancer holds her pose, calm and still in the fading window light, casting another in shadow so that he is starkly silhouetted against a bright wall. Briefly diametric, they balance perfectly, fleetingly.
Referencing an eclectic mix of cultural mythologies, her engagingly human work intuits supernatural ideologies without resorting to pretension. The result is remarkably fresh and authentic. Two particularly haunting pieces have me wondering how much of the story they inspire coincide with the artist's intent. Weigand is as generous in hearing my reaction as she is in telling the inspiration of their creation. Conversations like these are the whole point, I could leave now and be happy.
As he comes forward, she transitions aside, coherent intent balances apparent chaos, echoing a basic truism in a world increasingly distant – it is still the shared experiences that most meaningfully enrich our lives. Loud applause has the company glowing with triumph as they take their bows.
Music shifts tempo and we all clear space for the Dancing People Company. Weaving intricate movements, they trace sojourns that step, slide, bend and twist past each other. Curiously, as body brushes body, separateness maintains for they do not meet each other’s gaze, nor do theirs meet with that of the audience. Yet they influence each other as rhythms flow through the group, coalescing like waves as new patterns swell, then subside.
Unapologetically alive with the joy of expression, the evening has been remarkable for it’s convergence of so many fine art forms, an experience of rarefied intensity. In a break from the reserve of quiet contemplation, Bohemia beacons that art is to be lived. Such is the point of Ashland’s First Fridays. For the love of art and inspiration, Graceful Regard Magazine is published sporadically, at the whim and pleasure of the author, Irene Lucier.
Art review and photographs by Irene Lucier. Find out more at www.gracefulregard.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Graceful Regard Magazine ÂŠ 2009 Irene Lucier. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photography, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission of Irene Lucier.