Phenomenology is the new black

Draw! Paint! Dance! Beijing 2012

image of artist collaboratioin

artists at work creating Beijing

So, suggest to 3 wonderful international artists that we come together, create with dance, whilst I film and move myself amongst the evolving artworks – some trepidation perhaps? My fellow colleagues at SCU, NSW Australia would not be remotely surprised by my antics but trying to encourage a trio of ladies on the Red Gate Residency with me they were indeed a little cautious but a little bit inquisitive – what could happen?

Brenda Louie Chinese/ American artist, educator

Catherine Stringer Australian artist

Josie Martin New Zealand artist, installation and sculptor

My mantra for my arts practice is haptic – so generally I have a little idea of what I want to create but whatever happens, happens and that becomes the outcome of the creative process – so some surprises are inevitable, even joyous!  My dancing is usually influenced by Isadora Duncan – completely improvisational and naturally inspired by the music at hand.

For this experiment I set up the video camera on a tripod as well as use hand-held video shooting plus have a camera ready to take additional stills – in this instance I used my iPhone which is invaluable for quick responses and no fuss.  So music was on and the first movements from the artists were checked and reticent – for Catherine or any painter, starting a canvas is daunting at the best of times, here she taped a large sheet of paper to the wall and went for it; Brenda had taped her chinese paper scrolls to the floor and had pre-prepared her paper sheets to the wall all ready for action.  Josie, her paper and linen sheets ready plus pots of ink and colours waiting to be daubed onto the fresh surfaces.

The camera rolls and off they go. In what seems no time at all images start flowing and the artistic process is unleashed, walls come down and each artist enters the zone where no interruption seems to penetrate and I race about trying to capture their journeys via video and camera. They do become oblivious to me  – quite meditative – either filming or moving in their space – particularly my interaction with Brenda’s work which I endeavour to not touch but weave my way in between the floor artworks – not easy in a pair of pointe shoes!

image of artist collaboration beijing

artists collaborating Beijing 2012


image of artists collaborating

artists collaborating Beijing


image of Catherine Stringer's work

image of Catherine Stringer’s artwork Beijing

image of artists collaborating

artists collaborating Beijing


image of Josie Martin at work

Josie Martin at work Beijing


image of artists collaborating B/L

image of the author during artist collaboration – curtesy of Brenda Louie

The time passed fast and creation was abundant – 4 very happy ladies and some fantastic works.

image of artwork/Catherine Stringer

artwork of Catherine Stringer /Collaboration Beijing


image of Josie Martin's work via collaboration Beijing

image of Josie Martin’s work via collaboration Beijing


image of work by Brenda Louie artist collaboration Beijing

image of work by Brenda Louie artist collaboration Beijing


image curtesy of Brenda Louie

the author dancing amongst artwork of Brenda Louie/image curtesy of Brenda Louie


image of the artistic quartette

The Artistic Quartette – Josie Martin, Catherine Stringer, Sonia York-Pryce,
Brenda Louie Beijing 2012


An amazing experience and I think quite liberating! Incredible being in a strange city with new friends and making art!


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  1. Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    How fortunate, Sonia – these marvellous opportunities emerge in the most unlikely places, and lead who knows where…

  2. Warren Maynard
    Posted August 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Of course I wouldn’t be surprised. Seen it all before. You’re a dancer how else would you make your art but to dance. woohoo up on the toes. well done. And are they the ballet shoes that were in the photos for a silver medal? Looks like a very productive time with 4 very happy artists.

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