Art exhibit explores the many facets ‘of love’

of love 1
Photo by Michael Conti

Like there are many ways of expressing love, there are also many forms of love. The love of a friend, family member or significant other are all types of love that everyone experiences at one point or another, sometimes for better or for worse.

“of love” is a multimedia art exhibition being held at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in June, and is UAA adjunct professor Enzina Marrari’s emotional brain-child.

“I think the theme of the show is about the cycles of love — the good parts, the ugly parts, the bad parts, the sad parts, the kind of plateau, complacent, content or even boring parts. It’s about that cycle and that progression,” Marrari said. “I feel like love, generally, is a cycle.”

“of love” will bring together different art disciplines for the project, including dancers, movement-based silent performances, photography and a large sculpture installation. The dance pieces and silent performances will be held at the “of love” opening reception on Friday, June 7 beginning at 5:30 p.m., and will run until 7:30 p.m.

When she began planning the exhibition six months ago, Marrari had a group of artists and performers in mind that she wanted to help make it happen. While not all of them are able to participate, her core choices made themselves available.

One of her top choices for performers is Scott Turner Schofield, the former art and executive director of Out North Contemporary Art House. After leaving Out North in December 2011, Schofield was offered an acting job with a French company, which is part of the National Theatre of France.

“We premiered a new play at Festival d’Avignon in the summer of 2012 and have been touring France since then,” Schofield said. “I have also toured with my solo work around the U.S., and just made a documentary for VH1.”

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Marrari contacted Schoefield about performing in the exhibition if he was available. After she explained the concept behind it, Schofield agreed.

“Enzina and I dated for some time. I think that’s why she thought of me for this,” Schofield said. “Our experience of loving each other through and beyond a romantic involvement is kind of the arc of what she’s putting forward in this performance.”

“Scott and I were in a relationship when he was in Alaska, and he’s a very special person in my life; we’re still very good friends. Of course, we went through a period where we weren’t such good friends, but it happens; that’s the cycle of romantic love, and even friendship love. Sometimes you move apart, and there are a whole lot of feelings wrapped up in that moving apart,” Marrari said. “When I started thinking about the piece, I knew that I wanted Scott to be part of it. I wanted the performance to be successful for one, but it’s so important to me, and close to my heart, that I wanted people that were also close to my heart to be part of that. I wanted people who I’ve had those experiences with to be part of it.”

Not all of Marrari’s collaborators are close to her, but she is still grateful for their participation. Becky Kendall, the artistic director of the Momentum Dance Collective and adjunct modern dance professor, was recommended to Marrari by a close friend who is out of town and unable to participate in the exhibition. Kendall was also recently awarded a grant by the Rasmuson Foundation to further pursue her artistic projects.

The dancers of Momentum will mostly be giving solo performances during the First Friday opening reception for the exhibition, though some will be dancing in pairs. There are 22 dance performances scheduled for the night, featuring 16 dancers.

“I’ve been familiar with Enzina and her work, and I was really excited to think about a way of including performance art and dance into her gallery presentation,” Kendall said. “We have a set list that’s 22 songs, and we will be doing more than one set. We will be performing the 22-song set list three times over the course of the evening.”

The dancers of Momentum have another challenge to their performances aside from the sheer volume of pieces: They won’t be listening to music as they dance, despite the dance pieces being choreographed to specific songs. Viewers at the show will be given headphones so they can listen to the music each dance is meant to be performed to, but the dancers themselves have to recall their work by memory, and improvisation if need be.

“I have an amazing group of dancers,” Kendall said. “We all have a pretty extensive experience with improvisation … this is completely different, though. This is creating movement to a song, but then you’re performing it without hearing it. It’s a challenge.”

Even though the performances will only happen on June 7, the exhibition itself, including photography pieces and Marrari’s stone sculpture installation, will be on display until June 29.

“Come,” Marrari said. “I want people to come and have their own experience. Once the exhibit is there, it’s not only my experience anymore. It’s a shared experience, so I want people to come and have their own.”

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