I started thinking about exposure this morning and a few different things came to mind. In one sense, exposure means being vulnerable to the the elements like wind and low temperatures. I was reminded of Timberline lake out of Red Lodge. I've been there a few times and this was one of the warmer ones. My last trip up the mountain was cloudier, windier and colder. Me and my friend had to huddle behind some boulders to stay warm while we rested and had some snacks before hiking down. Exposure also reminds me of photography and the amount of time we let photographic film react with light. Longer exposures are longer records of light's interaction with chemicals on paper or photons hitting a sensor.
Finally, and most profoundly, exposure reminds me of revelation and vulnerability. Exposure is revelation insofar as one is transformed and shaped by continued engagement with something. And to the degree that things are subject to the gaze/scrutiny or view of another they are at risk. This is especially true in human relationships. When you open yourself up relationally to another, you show strength and weakness. Opening up to someone else can transform that person, and is one of our most important ways to change the world, but often leaves you open to criticism or judgement. Our strengths are often related to our weaknesses. Take wood for example. The way the fibers are oriented allow wood to be bent and flexed and stressed and yet return to an original shape. At the same time its this same fiber orientation that allows wood to be split "along the grain." The two are related.
Making yourself known to another or a group is risky, but can bring healing and restoration. This is what we tried to do in our recent show, Soul Show, Just Is. The show title wasn't just a clunky play on words (though its at least that and it took 3 adults about an hour to come up with...). We realized that we can't help but show the world who we are in our actions and words and the messages we explicitly and implicitly share. This exposure is a constant or given in the world. It's powerful enough on an individual basis but when several artists come together unified around a common idea, the resulting effect is greater than the sum of the parts. This is synergy, and this is the beauty and power of art. El's Clay has a sort of "collective soul" that we try to share with the larger community to realize truth, goodness and beauty on all scales. Each piece we create together tells a story and hopefully gives our viewers a vision of the future that is different and better than the world we know. We want to re-imagine the world together.
*For those who couldn't attend Soul Show, Just Is, please see visit the youtube playlist below. Most of the performances are recorded there.
Painter & Director of El's Clay
Our hope is that our Social Justice show provoked thought and inspired conversations. If you had a lingering thought or question after the show, use the form below to submit a topic you'd like to begin a conversation about. We'll compile the entries and gradually post reflections and discussions on the El's Clay Facebook page. We hope to stimulate a rich and meaningful dialogue after the show.
Upcoming Performance: June 26-27
El's Clay will once again be bringing several Billings area artists and performers together for two nights to explore different dimensions of social justice. The show will take place at the beautiful Billings Depot https://www.billingsdepot.org/. The show begins at 7:30 pm each night. Please allow adequate time to arrive and find a seat. Help us spread the word about important and possibly life changing art right here in Billings. We hope to see you there!
For tickets ($10), and more information, please see below: https://www.facebook.com/events/221133148469739/
Directors/performers Maribel Schaff and John Speier at dance rehearsal
El's clay recently performed Agape, a confluence of expression concerning Love and Relationships, at the Stapleton Gallery in Billings. More than 20 artists, including painters, dancers, poets and musicians collaborated to bring this show to life. We are incredibly grateful to the community for supporting our efforts to bring healing and restoration to individuals as they wrestle with what it means to be human in many relational aspects of their lives.
We are also indebted to the Stapleton Gallery owners and staff for facilitating our show and providing us a space in which to work. It was an honor to perform in their artist in residence space and were given creative freedom in setting up the venue to meet our needs. Guests had an additional opportunity to view the work of Nationally recognized artist Kevin Red Star, before the show and during the intermission. It is an invigorating experience to have so many artists together in one space, building community and bringing hopeful messages to Billings. We look forward to our next performance and the opportunity to work with more area artists to reach an even greater number in the Billings community.
One of the components of our show was our Agape (love) wall, where guests could write messages of encouragement or express their love for someone. Below you’ll find a slideshow of all the messages.