A month of performance art at Eastern Edge Gallery with Coral Short, Kailey Bryan and Evelyn Donnelly

by Mary MacDonald

One Night Stand: performance art series

Three weeks, three artists, one series.

This month at Eastern Edge Gallery we’ve invited three internationally recognized artists to explore spectacle, community, and body politics through a diverse series of performative acts, interventions, and collaborations. There shall be parties, promenades, plucking, and projection as Coral Short (Montreal), Kailey Bryan (St. John’s), and Evelyn Donnelly (New York) perform at Eastern Edge and throughout the downtown area as a part of our thirtieth anniversary programming.

Often when people talk about performance art there are a few stereotypes that tend to emerge. There are even a few infamous stories out there here in our very own St. John’s. And yes, performance art can feel foreign but it can also be incredibly fun, freeing, and formative to break out of our preconceptions about art and experience something new. Performance art also reveals one of the varied tenants of contemporary art, that is, the turn from the art object to the art objective. This is not a new idea by any means nor is performance art itself (dating back in its most modern incarnation to the Cabaret Voltaire in 1917) but performance art asks us to exchange that which is familiar for experimentation and play. Performance is political, social, vulnerable, and ephemeral.

Artists working in this media also tend to work in an open fashion incorporating elements from theatre, dance, sculpture, social practice and even inviting audience participation. After all we are bodies in space and time and we can most definitely think about these bodies as actors or canvases to mould and move into view.

03Plush (1)

Plush by Coral Short. Image courtesy of the Artist

So first up we’re launching ONE NIGHT STAND with a drop by/sign up/open mic evening of performance art at 7pm on Friday. If you’ve ever considered trying it out this is your chance! Later in the evening you can catch Montreal artist Coral Short as they cast a spell on the audience with The Insiders at 8:30pm. Coral has been busily sewing great swaths of shiny pink fabric and amassing a team of volunteers for this performance that explores the possibility of intimacy, community, trust, and genderless beauty.

The following day Coral will be back with another piece that will haunt Signal Hill at sunset. The Croning touches on ideas of ageing as the artist herself begins embracing her role as an elder in the forever young queer community. Also on Saturday and Sunday afternoons you might catch a glimpse of Coral in Plush on Water street in the early afternoon. Plush is an interactive kinetic soft sculpture that touches on furry culture and toy sculptural drag, but also reminds us of our childhood innocence and our strong emotional attachments to our own stuffed animals.

Next week we open our doors to our very own Kailey Bryan who just recently won the EVA Award for Emerging Artist from VANL-CARFAC. Kailey’s piece for One Night Stand is Ingrown a durational performance that addresses body politics, gender, and power through clinical and collections-based lenses. Plucking hair by hair Bryan’s work causes us to question the ways in which social systems aim to regulate identity. All are welcome to visit, witness, and talk with the artist during her performance at Eastern Edge.

In week three, Evelyn Donnelly from New York will create the Magic Show a performance studio & video laboratory at Eastern Edge that relates slapstick and physical comedy to ideas of magic and popular dance. Visitors are invited to share everyday movements/gestures that the artist will capture and combine for a closing performance on June 21 at 7pm at Eastern Edge combining low fi theatrics and vulnerable spontaneous performance.

And last but not least if you’d like to hear from the artists themselves you can join us in an open discussion of performance as it relates to their work on June 18 at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery at 7pm. In addition, we’ll have the lovely Pam Hall whose exhibition Housework(s) is currently on view at The Rooms in attendance as well.

So please join us in this limited time opportunity as we share, dance, witness, and take part in a month of performance art at Eastern Edge!

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ONE NIGHT STAND | schedule at a glance

June 6 | Launch Party of One Night Stand at Eastern Edge Gallery with Coral Short (Montreal) and Open Mic Performance Night
– Open Mic Performances 7-8:30pm
– Coral Short The Insiders – 8:30pm
June 7 | Coral Short The Croning on Signal Hill, sunset
June 7 – 8 | Coral Short Plush, various locations downtown St. John’s, 1-2pm
June 11 -14 | Kailey Bryan (St. John’s) Ingrown at Eastern Edge Gallery, Wed-Fri 12-8pm, Sat 12-5pm
June 17-21 | Evelyn Donnelly (New York) Magic Show: performance studio & video laboratory at Eastern Edge Gallery, Tues-Sat 12-5pm
June 18 | On Performance: Panel Discussion at the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery with Evelyn Donnelly, Kailey Bryan, and Pam Hall. Moderated by Mary MacDonald at the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, 7pm
June 21 | Closing Reception of One Night Stand with Evelyn Donnelly (New York) at Eastern Edge Gallery, 7pm

Eastern Edge Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of its local arts community and major supporters: The Canada Council for the Arts – Conseil des arts du Canada, Canadian Heritage-Partrimonie, The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, the Government of Newfoundland & Labrador – Gourvernement de Terre Neuve Labrador and the City of St. John’s and you.