Saya Woolfalk Integrates Art, Performance, Detritus of Consumer Society

Welcome to a postcolonial Candy Land of fuzzily fleeced creatures and bizarre, ritualistic dance

Release Date: March 9, 2009 This content is archived.


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"No Place" has been described as "deceptively cute."

Saya Woolfalk's "No Place" installation will be in the UB Art Gallery through May 9.

UB dance students prepare Saya Woolfalk's "Empathetics."

BUFFALO, N.Y -- New York-based artist Saya Woolfalk will be in residence at the University at Buffalo through April 15 developing another chapter of "No Place," her ongoing "deceptively cute, motley investigation of otherness."

Woolfalk's phantasmagorical and gloriously colorful work references Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" (a pun meaning both "good place" and "no place"), one of the first books to invoke the analogy a voyage of discovery and discoveries of the mind.

Her residency will involve a series of public workshops and open rehearsals culminating in a free public performance of the resulting dance work, "No Place: A Ritual of the Empathetics," on April 15 at 4 p.m. in the UB Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, on UB's North (Amherst) Campus.

The April 15 performance will be choreographed in a 13-session course with five student dancers from the UB Department of Theatre and Dance: Hilary Freeland, Lauren Palmieri, Krista Scimeca, Sara Senecal and Brittany Sprung. It will be performed to an original score by Kevin S. McFaddin, an accompanist for the department.

Through May 9, the gallery is sponsoring "No Place," an exhibition of Woolfalk's art that curator Sandra Firmin says articulates "a Technicolor society of lush abundance composed of the detritus of our market economy."

Firmin says, "Woolfalk's alchemical process transforms the wasteful leavings of our consumer civilization into polychromatic totems and bodysuits sprouting bulbous forms that blend with the vibrant landscape of her invention.

"She invites us to make a journey to 'No Place,'" Firmin says, "and to witness its androgynous inhabitants enact empathetic explorations of self and other as a form of creative expression."

During her residence Woolfalk will transform the UB Art Gallery into a stage and studio. The public can attend dress rehearsals and participate in artist-led workshops, during which participant will make unique "Empathetics" t-shirts that will be worn by audience members during the performance.

The workshops will be held on Saturdays (March 21, April 11) from 2-4 p.m. and the rehearsals will be held on Thursdays (March 26, April 2 and April 9) from 5-7 p.m.

The UB Art Gallery is funded by the UB College of Arts Sciences, the Visual Arts Building Fund, the Seymour H. Knox Foundation Fine Arts Fund, and the Fine Arts Center Endowment.

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