April 2018 at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Beast is a durational performance created in response to The Linens, a retrospective exhibition of painter Ciel Bergman. The performance aims to embody both the formal qualities of Bergman’s paintings, as well as the ways in which her work is framed and encoded within a larger matrix of gender and sexuality. The performance takes place within a large swath of muslin, with four collective members rotating between positions of visibility and concealment through openings cut in the material. The performers create cumulative gestures of mark-making from both sides of the fabric, using India ink, coffee, wine, turmeric, lipstick, and water. The presence of unseen performers explores dynamics of influence and systems of symbolism within abstraction, examining lines of visual and nonverbal communication between artist and audiences. Playfully referencing a slumber party in format, this piece also explores the complex associations with friendships between women and the often blurred and fluid boundaries of self and identity within the context of intimacy, collaboration, and collective creative production.