five minutes of a 40 minute performance art tableau. LAL@Loudon House in KY. 2012

stones between lips
slip
disturb

a calm surface
interrupted

the weight
beckons silence to overflow

There is poetry in the way people communicate, how interpretations of language, verbal and non-verbal generate meaning or lack of meaning. Intention is interpreted and our own inner dialog rests like stones on our tongues. The residue of language is held between us as it falls, slips or is thrown. The problems addressed in the work range from the psychology of the individual to the social science’s study of relationship and the contemporary artistic notions of conversation as art.

This forty minute collaborative performance piece was set as a tableaux and occurred inside of a traditional gallery. Rae entered the space first, symbolically wearing a bridal gown, she poured the cream from pitchers into the stacked bowls making sure there was no spillage. The table was placed near a window and with a downward gaze she stood and poured, remarking on Vermeer’s painting “The Milkmaid.” Rae waited for her groom for five minutes. Thomas entered and sat down harshly after much stomping. With hands on the dark wood table, they stared at one another and seemed to say nothing and everything across the distance. Separated by bowls that had been filled carefully to the brim they began the dance of conversation. Using imagery from Mark Strand’s poem “To Begin” their mouths were filled dark grey stones. They took turns removing one stone at a time. These stones or intentions were dropped or slid into the cream. As they disappeared from sight, the cream overflowed onto the table, onto the grey fabric, that spilled over and onto the floor, as a waterfall.

This is the first work in a series by Thomas and Rae, exploring the psychology and poetry of communication in relationship. The next in the series will be performed at Amos Eno Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.

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