Summer Performance Institute Features Visiting AlumThis summer, as part of the Performance Institute, Collaboration, Creation and Performance will be taught by Associate Professor of Theatre Louise Smith ’77 and visiting artist Michael Fajans ’70, a Seattle-based muralist.
The class offers students the opportunity to make work in a collaborative manner across disciplines. It will investigate two ideas in dramatic and visual art structure: deus ex machina and trompe l’oeil. Participants will identify areas of interest and concern from a range of communally experienced contexts. These might include aesthetic situations, such as local architecture and landscape; political situations involving campus or community; and social or psychological encounters or economic situations as related to real estate values or marketing techniques. Having identified and discussed a topic, participants will use the two terms stated above as a starting point for reframing areas of concern so that they, and others in the community, may consider these issues from a new point of view. Instead of occurring in a gallery or theatre, the art expressed will, as trompe l’oeil, belong to the context in which it appears: in store windows; as letters to the editor; as non-invasive alterations to the natural or built environment; or as repetitive, cumulative, or once only performed acts.
Michael Fajans lives and works in Seattle. His paintings have been exhibited in New York, Washington, California, and Canada. He has been commissioned by the Seattle Tacoma International Airport, the State of Washington, the city of Olympia, Pike’s Place Market, and the City of Seattle to create thought-provoking public art works. He has collaborated with New York-based Otrabanda Company on set designs for which he won a 1988 Bessie Dance and Performance Award. He has been an artist-in-residence at Duke University, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and Antioch College.
Michael is also a serious volleyball player. Many Yellow Springs folk remember him as the driving force behind the local mural movement of the 1970s; his legacy continues in the current mural renaissance led by local artist Pierre Nagley. Michael’s art and his politics are really hot, and this should be a great course with some bold outcomes.
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