The Spiraling Forces exhibition was developed in collaboration between New Dance Horizons and the MacKenzie Art Gallery as part of the Spiraling Forces Festival.
It features contemporary works from the permanent collection that share many of the same general themes of the Spiraling Forces Festival — forces of nature, wind, sky, devastation and creation. Large-scale abstractions by Marcel Barbeau and Kenneth Lochhead, which evoke the sweeping energies of the rain and wind, are joined by the avian imagery of Jean-Paul Riopelle and Julie Oakes. Michael Olito’s towering horse head wind-vane serves as a sentinel for the exhibition.
Two new videos provide an important focal point for the exhibition. Euphoria, a video by Saskatoon artist Joanne Lyons, opens with the text: “The earth tipped and then she was gone.” This line and the ensuing rain of falling bricks derive from the novel Euphoria by Regina author Connie Gault. The novel tells the story of a young switchboard operator whose life came crashing down when her office collapsed during the Regina tornado of 1912.
Silk Cyclone by Regina filmmaker Rob King takes a different twist on the tornado. King’s film was inspired by an amazing silk dance performance by Margie Gillis, Robin Poitras, and Daniella Beltrami with improvised choreography by Susan McKenzie. The silk dance is, as King writes, “an ethereal art in which the human form, the imagination and spirit of the dancer extends out through the silk. And the silk returns the favour. Movement creates force that creates movement. The dancer forms spirals of fabric that stir the air and in turn play upon each present and future movement of the material. With movement comes a sound only heard on the sea, on the wide prairie, or in a dream.”
The Spiraling Forces exhibition will also be the stage for the world premiere of Breath of the Universe. The performance is the result of a collaboration by Canadian dance legend Margie Gillis, New Dance Horizons’ Robin Poitras, and Vancouver-based Susan McKenzie, with original music by the iconic Candian composer Gordon Monahan. This performance will conjure the wind through the use of flowing silk dresses which billow and twist at the dancer’s command, echoing the dances of Loie Fuller from the turn of the last century.
This performance at the MacKenzie will also kick off the weekend of Spiraling Forces Festival events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the tornado and celebrating the beauty, power and magic of prairie wind. For more information on festival activities around Regina visit spiralingforces.ca.
Curated by: Timothy Long, Head Curator, MacKenzie Art Gallery and Robin Poitras, Director of New Dance Horizons
Watch Robin Poitras and Margie Gillis share thoughts about Breath of the Universe in the video playlist below (3 videos).