Ron Esplin collaboration with Barbara Snook Dance project - 7th Sep 2009

Ron Esplin collaboration with Barbara Snook Dance project Dance project:
Responding to the challenge presented by Barbara Snook, the Otago University Caroline Plummer Fellow 2008, to produce an art piece that represented the dance work Barbara has been doing in Dunedin, I spent some time observing the dance group at the School of Physical Education, and the presentation of their work at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
Conveying movement:
I took photographs at both events and decided that, although a single painting may represent the grace or movement of dancers, the range of movements would be beyond a single representation to convey adequately.
Dancers were not at all times synchronised in their movements, but were often dancing freestyle around the unifying focus of the music, and a theme.
The idea of using multiple images occurred to Ron as an answer to this dilemma, but how to convey both the unanimity and the freedom became the conundrum.
Caught playing with Barbie dolls:
Barbara and I have been friends for some time, and whether it was name association or not, I went to a local store in search of Barbie dolls to use as my dancers. I arrived home with three Barbie dolls that I then proceeded to photograph in a variety of dance poses in my front garden. This process was interrupted by the embarrassing arrival of my daughter and her boyfriend who are now convinced that their father has sunk to the depths of depravity.
Platoon of dancers:
The multiple photographs were then downloaded to a computer and manipulated to produce the ethereal black and white images in the finished work. The unanimity is achieved by accentuating the linearity of each individual image by representing them almost like a platoon of dancers represented in four lines of eight so the work is taller than it is wide. The individuality of dancers is represented by the variety of poses within the work.
Once I was satisfied with the total arrangement and presentation, it was downloaded onto a disc and given to a printer to produce on a giant printing machine with quality ink onto quality material.
Choosing the frame:
It then remained to frame the work in a stark white frame to accentuate the contrast of black on white. The choice of frame was an essential part of the process, and UV glass has been used to ensure longevity.
This has been a satisfying and insightful project for me and I am grateful to Barbara for the opportunity to explore dance in such a unique way, and to produce the resulting work, "La Danse". Framed size 870mm x 460mm. Price: NZ 1,200.

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