TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Defined as the expression of creative skill and imagination, art can take any form. Sound, movement of the body, electronics, stone, cloth and paint represent just a few of the media from which artistic expression can spring.
A taste of that diversity will be demonstrated for five consecutive days starting Monday, Feb. 29, as part of “Work in Progress,” an art performance sponsored by The University of Alabama’s New College and Sonic Frontiers concert series. The series continues through Friday, March 4.
Each day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., a different artist who specializes in a particular medium will fashion a piece while musician and composer Dr. Andrew Raffo Dewar, UA associate professor in New College, creates saxophone and electronic music in the Ferguson Center Art Gallery.
The work of each of the six Alabama-based artists will inspire the sound that Dewar creates, and in turn their work will be inspired by his music. The meshing of the two art forms will create a single, collaborative audio-visual work of art.
The new work that the artists create each morning will be performed or exhibited the same day that it’s created, from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Ferguson Center Art Gallery. The entire process – the creation of the art and its performance – is free and open to the public.
“This is rapid prototyping, which means we’re very quickly going to be creating work in the morning and then performing it in the afternoon,” Dewar said. “Normally, artists make something in their studios then show it to the public. In this case, the entire creative process is open to the audience. The unique situation of placing artists under unusual time constraints – making new work in a four-hour period to be performed and displayed later that day – is simultaneously exciting and terrifying.”
Dewar said the concept for “Work in Progress” came from the work of German artist Joseph Beuys, who advocated for redefining art as a social process and environment, not simply as objects to be admired.
The “Work in Progress” schedule is as follows:
- Monday, Feb. 29: Dewar with electronic musician Brad Davis and visual artist Kate Merritt Davis.
- Tuesday, March 1: Dewar with visual artist Pete Schulte.
- Wednesday, March 2: Dewar with choreographer/dancer Sarah M. Barry, associate professor of dance, and undergraduate dancers from UA’s department of theatre and dance.
- Thursday, March 3: Dewar with textile artist Adrienne Callander.
- Friday, March 4: Dewar with percussionist/composer Tim Feeney.
Sonic Frontiers is a cutting-edge concert series of innovative and experimental music that enriches the cultural life of West Alabama and invites creative exchange among world-class performers of adventurous music, students and the greater community through public performances and lively post-concert discussions. All Sonic Frontiers events are free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by UA’s New College, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Music and Creative Campus. For more information: http://sonicfrontiers.ua.edu
New College was founded at UA in 1971 “to serve as an experimental unit with the expectation of exporting successful innovations to other sectors of the University.” From the outset, the purpose of New College has been to offer ambitious, responsible and self-disciplined students the freedom to build a curriculum from several departments.