The Art of the Dancer
The meticulously choreographed fine art images of Melbourne based artist Rebekah Stuart are a striking blend of contemporary digitalisation and classic landscape painting. There is something remote and tranquil in her work, an under-current layer of dark mysticism underlies this still beauty, which is crafted with mastered contemplation.
What is your greatest inspiration?
I have many inspirations in life. One of my greatest is the power and truth of nature; it always shows up, accepts its purpose and sense of being in the larger scheme of things. I am inspired by the impermanence of things, which may be as variant as the swift passing of light scintillating over forms, the settling stillness of the moon, words from books such as the wonderful inspiring dancer Isadora Duncan, moving my body as a dancer to find truth, a kind gesture from a human being, a performance that speaks so succinctly to the human condition that it makes you cry and feel joy. All of these things I speak of live and die, making space for new fragments that live and die. All experience is painful and extraordinary, but it always happens in a state of impermanence and flux, preparing us for life and death.
As the light falls in ‘Scarlatti and the View’ softer than mist, it settles in the inky water and lights up the shoreline. This work speaks of music and dance ~ tranquillity and reflection. As a performance artist you present a powerful connection to sound / music. Could you select a piece of music to accompany one of your art works?
I haven’t called myself a performance artist before. I am an artist that at times performs using the medium of dance and story which is often abstract, non linear. Music has always been a large part of my life. I grew up in a family who had a tradition of singing together around the piano once a week. We also performed as an A Capella ensemble for many years. I have taken interest to use recordings of original music from my friendship circle for dance performances, as I feel this creates an intimate and familial atmosphere, rather than using famous composers works who are much more distant from my living context. Recently for my opening art exhibition ‘ The Other Shore’ I directed five dancers to move in front of my artworks, responding to and emulating elements of air, wind, heat, cold and water. The music was a looped score recording of my sister singing a lullaby in an Italian church on a family holiday a year ago. ‘Scarlatti and the View’ is partially inspired by Scarlatti’s keyboard Sonata in B- Flat major.
Can you describe the contemporary medium of your work?
I work using fragments of earth, sky, foliage, light and colour and place them side by side, or I superimpose, erase, overlay and so on. I usually begin with a background work of a vast sky, ocean or land. By the time I have completed the work I rarely remember which photograph I began with, as much like a painter the works evolve, often taking up to three months to create. A painter takes paint to the brush and reworks, I take pieces of the landscape instead. I often work to classical music to bring memory, dreaming, dance and philosophy to my process. Until recently I have used photographs that I have taken to create all works. My show that is currently on until 9th of October ‘The Other Shore’ (at St Francis’ Pastoral Centre) explores both mediums of photography and painting which is new for me.