Day 114 Venus Envy

April 2, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)
Jenna Boyles performed tonight at Venus Envy, at Gallery 788 in Baltimore.
Art energizes, inspires and stretches my perception, but an all-female show also adds an extra ingredient…rebirth. I attended an all-female art show tonight, Venus Envy, at Gallery 788 in Hampden. (I have an abstract photo hanging with the title "Climax.") This is a setting that gives permission for women to step out of their traditional role or preconceived expectations and to stretch the boundaries of how they are defined. Instead of allowing others to define us, we define ourselves and raise our middle fingers at those who object.

At last year’s Venus Envy exhibit, conceptual performance artist Jenna Boyles performed a dance with audience participation, holding stretched nylon stockings as she wove a dance. This year, she performed two conceptual pieces where in one, the audience held stretched nylon but this time it was weighted at the bottom. I liked this but was also intrigued by another dance where she used a fan to first blow pieces of newspaper against her body and then a sheer netted scarf flowed with the wind and her movement.  What mesmerized me was the interaction of the air current with the scarf, which alternated between revealing her fully or partially. Indeed, this mirrors women’s lives, which are sometimes revealed fully to the world and other times only partially revealed. When a woman is partially hidden, not only does the world see her incompletely, but also she sees life through a gauzy haze that separates her from the world. 

Maybe it is this female duality and the questions it sparks that fascinate me so much. Just how much of ourselves should we reveal? Is it best to put out everything in full view or should we always leave some layers beneath the surface? And, maybe more important, how do we respond to the fluid flow of air? Do we hide or do we stand in its path and dance with it? 

My gift today is a dance.

> Day 115 Catching Bad

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