I was at a small dinner party the other night where I was the only US born. There were 2 Europeans from France and Germany, 2 South Africans and 1 South American. A couple of themes wove through the evening; one was being a foreigner and the other was New York City. Having lived abroad for many years I know what it means to be a foreigner, and since I didn’t grow up in this city I too have had to pass through the very tough initiation that is obligatory in moving to any new place, and more specifically to this city. Before moving here I heard it described as a city that takes bites out of you, chews you up into little pieces and then spits you out, if you are not strong.
Some of the things that we all agreed on were: People don’t look at each other, or if they do they pretend not to, especially in the subway. This was one of the first things I noticed when I came from Roma, where everyone looks at each other and often even undress you with their eyes. It’s a city where friendship is hard to consolidate because it is highly career oriented. Friendship, for the most part is based on what others can do for you. Because of this, but not only, one can feel very isolated; a foreigner can feel that they do not belong. We agreed, however, that not belonging or the feeling of not belonging is an existential condition that exists beyond place.
In favor of the city we all agreed that its beauty resides in the melting pot that it is; there in itself was a harmonious and interesting evening, sharing food, ideas and good cheer with people from 5 different countries. And that NYC and its surrounding boroughs offers many opportunities in every field. A funny thing happens for those who stay; despite the daily complaints one finds themselves at home amidst the difficulties and complexities, which often compels you to ask more of yourself.
Here’s to good company in NYC or any place.
No words today, just a painting; a work on paper, entitled "Risuonare", or replay.
I received an email today from a close friend, where the word “noticing” stuck out at me. The reference was in regards to sensations in the body brought about by various ways of breathing, in a process called Continuum Movement, which we both practice. Emilie Conrad, the founder of this process, in an article, entitled “Movement”, wrote, “My concern has always been with the ingenious ways we become self-limiting; and how all our various cultures define the parameters of what is knowable. Western culture, in particular, has brought about the industrialization of the body, with a devastating and alienating effect. For us, mechanical, repetitive movement is accepted as desirable, and this mechanization lies at the core of how we live and describe our world. Does this have any connection to a flowing vital process called a human being, whose form is based on the movement of water?”
The message our culture gives us or what it asks of us, is to not notice or pay attention to what is inside of ourselves. Even in going to the gym, with its emphasis on fitness and health, it is common to see people on the treadmill or stationary bike, reading or watching television while their bodies are getting “done.” It is obviously a way to tune out and disconnect from ourselves. Instead, within the body there is a world of sensation, with so much information to dance life with, waiting for our attention.
Aaron Osborne, one of my most inspiring dance teachers and friend, after his death, returned to remind me to dance life. Below is a painting I make in homage to him. It is entitled, "Danzare la Vita".
Please check out "workshops" on my site for detailed information, but note that the dates of our summer program have been altered. Our ‘IN VIAGGIO,’ program will be held on the intriguing island of ISCHIA, from Aug 23-30. It is situated in the picturesque Bay of Naples, known for its rich Greek origins, as well as its ancient thermal waters.
I love Italy! It was a love that happened by default. In the late 70’s a friend and I wanted to go to Greece, but the free tickets we had been given were destined for Roma, and we did not refuse. We had just finished working in a theater production in SF, and our spirits were high as we drove across the US to New York, making up songs and stopping at night to take over dance floors along the way. (We were both wild dancers). Then, in Roma, in the evenings we ventured out of our pensione with our faces painted, dressed in black, hair pulled tightly back in a bun, and me carrying my guitar; a cross between Martha Grahm and Dracula's daughters. For three nights in a row, crowds gathered around us in Piazza Navona, where we performed until le zingare, or the gypsy kids invaded our magic circle with their frolic. From there we roamed to the Pantheon where another, more tranquilla crowd gathered around us to hear my playing. Liking what they heard, three musicians invited us to lunch the next day.
I returned a number of times until Roma herself called me to live there. Roma chooses her inhabitants. My intention was to stay for a year or two, but because she is seductive and promises many things that she doesn’t always give you, two became twelve, and so that is why many of the titles of my paintings are in Italian.
The following was also part of the proposal for an exhibition about portals, for myself and an artist/ friend (an Arab and a Jew). We have both been working with the idea of portals/windows/openings for a number of years, however, we came to this exploration separately. Once we recognized the similarities we decided to offer it as possibility; as another perspective towards identifying what is shared, universal and infinite among all cultures. An opening that may allow us to look through and beyond what we see now, and even step over to open ourselves to a consciousness that embraces all beings
There are those precious encounters in life that leave you with a sense of harmonic resonance, as though a mirror was reflecting back to you, not only a familiar image, but a musicality of tones that awakens memory, both personal and beyond self. Rooted in culture, but unconditioned by its boundaries, we meet in a vast landscape, perhaps out in the desert, where the wind shifts sand through time, echoing a song of light and eternity. In a moment of silence, all is revealed; bold and graceful Arabic-like calligraphy seems to form from the movement of the sand, the drone of a Middle Eastern lament emerges from the depths of the earth, following the changing lines, scripted and dissolving in the sand, where understanding goes beyond language and form moves within itself to become formless.
I have been working with the idea of portals in my paintings for a long time. Last year, as part of a proposal for any exhibition, I wrote the following:
A portal is a passageway from one place to another; doors, windows, openings that allow the viewer to step in, out or away from one position to another. A portal rests on firm ground between water, yet to port means to carry something, implying movement. Therefore, between static and movement there is an opening that offers access to another realm. Whether one takes the journey depends on one's courage to step through the opening to meet what is unknown.
So, I begin this, my first blog with "Finestra da Favola" or Window from a Fairy Tale, which I hope I have uploaded correctly.