Tough LOVE in the Gravel
Creative co11aboration is one of my favorite and most beloved activities. My entire being feels stimulated, nourished and enlivened when a juicy artful exchange is happening! It is a form of lovemaking that I will allow time for whenever I can, especially with other artists who I admire. Photographer Rex Hohlbein is one of those special co-creators that I feel very lucky to have met and grateful to work with for the past year. Even with a super full work schedule, he will drop it for a creative “date” when I have time to come over to Seattle. Sometimes we have a plan of where to go, others not.
This time, since our MomoButoh “theme” for February is Love & Family; I said I was “looking for LOVE” and places that would inspire it in the dance and imagery. He said he had a place that really excited him in mind. Since he was pressed for time and it was only a block from the office, we should check it out. Turns out this “special place” is an industrial site for storing and distributing gravel, asphalt and other products of what I tend to call “earth rape.” When we arrived a HUGE truck was sounding an alarm as it dumped the stuff into a holding area; creating a great dust cloud as another machine pounded bits of stone into submission. I stood in a daze, pained at the sensual assault of it all. Hmmm? I just was not feeling much very “in the mood.”
Suddenly he realized he had forgotten his photo memory card and had to run back for it. As he was gone I has some time to contemplate and let the dust settle. The rare February sun was beaming down and my initial resistance melted a bit at that. Then I was reminded of my teacher Yoshito Ohno’s lessons about soft and hard….the intercourse between those two can be a beautiful dance where life itself is created. I was thinking of the essences of butoh practice that were so essential. I remembered a dance of the flower growing through the crack in the cement. Phrases I had heard so often in the “butoh world” like: “places in between,” “the revolt of the flesh,” and “a body at the edge of crisis” flowed through my head….I was beginning to feel my love for the EDGE rekindle and smolder a bit. I wanted to challenge myself by exploring how to hold my heart open and keep love alive even in the most seemingly brutal of situations. I wanted to explore BOTH the dark & light sides of love.
Rex came rushing back and I had removed a bunch of clothing and put on a shirt to shroud my head. I realized I needed a Significant Other, a softer little sign of life to hold as a companion in this dance. I really wanted a flower but the closest thing we could find was a sprig of foliage from the landscaping and we began to dance. I lost myself in the experience of dancing at the foot of the gravel mountain until Rex asked if we could head over to the black shadowy cement pit of asphalt. There among the sticky black goo (I could not do it without shoes) noxious fumes and cold shadows; I danced with as much loving as I could muster; often loosing motivation as he cheered me on with “this is SO beautiful”-but I could not see it.
After we were done I was anxious to see the pics because I was so curious what they would reveal. Rex said he was very busy so it could be a while before he could get to it. Later that night I was perusing Facebook and there they were! I was stunned. It is funny how, even though I do SO MUCH public sharing of my image, and I know perfectly well how fast digital information can move from here to there; I still can feel shy and protective about revealing it. Perhaps I had opened up something vulnerable and intimate in that gravel. When this was revealed before I felt “control,” my ego had a knee jerk reaction and I wrote a somewhat upset note to Rex about being sure to show me first. Then he was a bit shocked by my concern but also understanding and kindly deleted the pics and sent copies to me to share in my own timing. Now I see how silly this is in a way….and how essential too. A true love lesson, as are so many lessons in life….and these would not be possible without my collaborative “family” of fellow artists. I feel so grateful for you!
Thank you. Please Forgive Me. I’m Sorry. I Love You.
I love these photos really. I love the shadows, the contrasts, the range of emotions evoked. I love Rex. I love collaborating. I love the sun. I love the earth. I love all living beings. I love my job.
I want to know what YOU see in these images.