DANCE: Marc Mellon, Jane Sutherland, Philip Trager
September 17, 2015–January 15, 2016
For more than five millennia, visual artists have been drawn to dance as a subject for their art-making. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all immortalized dancers – and their dances – in a range of media, including murals, vase decorations, cameos, and coins. Christian art, too, exhibited a marked fascination with the Bible’s most infamous dancer, Salome, whose mesmerizing movements induced Herod to decapitate John the Baptist at her request. The reason for this magnetic pull is obvious: dance is expressive, evocative, and erotic. Through dance, stories are told and histories rendered tangible. It captivates the human spirit and, despite its extreme physicality, transports us to a plane of existence that transcends the body; precisely the same effect that sculpture, painting, and photography can produce. This stunning exhibition examines the rich relationship between these “sister arts” through the eyes of three gifted practitioners: sculptor Marc Mellon, painter Jane Sutherland, and photographer Philip Trager. Each of these artists has had a distinguished career, with numerous notable exhibitions across the country and artworks held in public as well as private collections, both in the U.S. and abroad. Though their expressive “languages” may differ, they all bring a keen eye, cutting intellect, and talented hand to their oeuvres, creating visual tours de force for their audiences to enjoy. Visitors to this show will relish a unique opportunity to see Mellon’s classically inspired life-size bronze sculptures of dancers juxtaposed with Sutherland’s intriguing Little Dancer paintings; a series directly inspired by Edgar Degas’s great work of this same name. Trager’s silver gelatin and platinum prints of athletic dancers – whether airborne or with bodies quieted into astoundingly expressive postures – rounds out this phenomenal triumvirate, whose work delights the eye as much as it does the mind and the spirit.
A program of contemporary dance at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, is being planned to complement this exhibition.