In Temescal Alley, the historic lane turned hip North Oakland marketplace, Interface Gallery hosts Bodily Engagements, an eight-week series of interdisciplinary and experiential performance projects. Attending to the theme of the human body in its spatial, visual and temporal relationships, Bodily Engagements hosts four onsite projects of dance, performance and installations.
Making Plain is the third project in the series, an installation and performance by Manners (visual artist Lisa Rybovich Crallé and artist/performer Sophia Wang). The project features a site-specific movement piece developed over a series of workshops, choreographed by Wang with Olive Blackburn and Titania Kumeh. The final piece will be performed by all three dancers on Feb. 27, 5-6pm, accompanied by an audio piece by (((arc))), the sound project of film artist Tooth, to be debuted that evening.
All these moving parts might seem complicated, but the democracy of the artists' process flows smoothly through each component. Unique additions from each participant are essential, manifesting a harmonious creative environment that honors experimentation and variation.
Crallé’s installation -- open for viewing during regular gallery hours -- dominates the small space, but the room remains airy. The walls are covered in white paper printed with a thick, impasto pattern of white bricks. Stretching onto the concrete floor, the paper extends across the room, creating an illusion that is broken by two scroll-like pieces of paper hanging on the wall.
Crallé’s brick-patterned paper references the gallery’s own walls, completely hidden by the installation. Amplifying this characteristic creates an impression beyond the meta reference: the result is something institutional, almost reminiscent of padded walls of a sanitarium, a tiled hospital room, or (perhaps less threatening) a communal bathhouse. The handcrafted mark of the pattern, however, disrupts the environment’s austerity. And, perhaps more than anything, the quirky, unexplained forms zig-zagging across the room animate the space.
Three geometric shapes, made of wood outlines covered in the patterned paper, jut into and cut through the room. The angles create framing devices for viewers and curious obstacles for the dancers when they enter the room. The performers engage the shapes as possible cues for their own posture, steps and travels -- all the while wearing matching white-brick printed attire, a continuation of Crallé and Wang's examination of camouflage in their joint artistic practice.