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River Valley Arts Collective: Privet - Programs - Al Held Foundation

Tara Lorenzen, Brandi Norton, and Jodi Melnick (L to R) performing Privet in Al Held's former painting studio, Boiceville, NY, April 2023. Seen behind the dancers is the preparatory work for Al Held's monumental mural Roberta's House (1985). Photo James Autery.

We are pleased to announce Privet, a multidisciplinary exhibition including dance, music, and works on paper, emerging as a conversation among artists. Privet will commence our fourth season of on-site exhibitions in partnership with River Valley Arts Collective. Choreographed by Jodi Melnick, and performed by Melnick along with Tara Lorenzen and Brandi Norton, the dance will activate Al Held's cavernous painting studio with movement for the first time. Dancing atop a sprawling lavender carpet, the performers will move to a Laura Ortman soundtrack in front of a 44-foot long working painting for Roberta's House (1985) by Al Held. Ortman describes these compositions as sculpted sound built with texture, atmosphere, and emotion. The dance will be performed four times: Sunday, April 23 at 10am and 12pm, and Saturday, May 13 at 10am and 12pm.

In the adjacent more intimate drawing studio, Beka Goedde will present works on paper from the series Familiar Bends (2021), Know your bones (2021), and Fluid arrangement (2019). Goedde employs printmaking and sculpture to explore duration, the perception of change, and movement in physical space. She utilizes a wide array of techniques including aquatint, silverpoint, photo etching, laser etching, collage, intaglio, screen print, watercolor, and monotype. Some works include cut paper shapes hinged together to create complex biomorphic configurations, others reference tubular clay forms the artist built to read as the physical interior of the body. The lyrical lines throughout Goedde's multiple series, as well as her attention to the body and its physicality, generates a call and response with the dancers' performance.

The title of the exhibition refers to the shrub commonly used for privacy hedging. More poetically, the title references defining borders, creating private realms within the vastness of nature, and cultivating the landscape to delineate one space from another. Here the hedge is less about the desire to block and hide, but rather the generative impulse to define and create form where there was none. The lavender carpet becomes a purple lawn in front of Roberta's House, framing a whole new space within the contours of Held's painting studio. The dancers animate this space and the conversation among artists expands. Together the layers of Privet engage multiple senses to evoke notions of home, the body, and movement in time and space. The exhibition is curated by Olga Dekalo and organized in partnership with River Valley Arts Collective.

All photos by James Autery.

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