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Nava Waxman: Choreographed Marks


Curated By Anik Glaude, The Varley Art Gallery of Markham

Choreographed Marks presents a series of performances for the camera, recorded between 2014-2017. These works represent themes of movement, temporalities, rituals,  and inscriptions of bodily and painted gestures.

The works presented in Choreographed Marks demonstrate the various ways Waxman uses the camera to negotiate identity, and bring to light the performative aspects of mark making. In these lens-based works, the body becomes both the brush and the artist that wields it. With an emphasis on process, improvisation, and documentation, the camera records the performative actions as she moves across the space; the body is moving in and out of focus, even barely visible at times. Employing theatrical strategies, Waxman introduces objects into her performances as props, adding layers of meaning and visual cues for the viewer. Waxman uses sequencing, the arrangement of images and marks, as both a presentation strategy and a way to develop a visual narrative and a personal artistic vocabulary. It is within these contrasting forces that the artist explores the possibilities of mark making in relation to cultural contexts and identity.

This project is part of right here\right now, an initiative fostering the work of contemporary artists in the York Region. Special thank you and gratitude to Suzy Lake for her mentorship. 

Choreographed Marks is Generously supported by the Ontario Art Council.

Polyphony (2014) is a photographic mural piece that comprises a sequence of 21 performance still photographs. In these images, a temporary wall painting acts as a backdrop to a performative act for the camera. Painted forms and lines become a gestural extension of the moving body in space. Drawing upon the polyphonic structure theorized by Swiss artist Paul Klee, this work responds to the simultaneous presentation of information through a structural sequence with visual rhythm, tempo, and variations that are reverberating across each frame.  A Typographic symbol inscribed on the floor as a choreographic device, within the photographs becomes a repeatable continuum.

Notations: Solitary Waves  (2016) is a photographic diagram constructed from the accumulation of performance video still recorded, for the camera. The work explores polarities of movement and stillness, painted forms and transitory gestures, exploring movement and dance notation systems as a critical tool for recording and to reflect on movement and gestures in space.

 A Theatrical Place for the Unearthed (2015) is a screendance work that express liminal space, ritual, and the experience of time through movement—drawing on ideas of myth translation, interpretations, and the deceptions of Lilith, a female figure from Hebrew mythology including the various iconographies used to depict the myth throughout the 20th century. Montage technique and the various durations and transitions evoke a state of liminality, where the familiar order of things is suspended between the momentarily negated past and the yet to begin future. Transitional Object (2018) explores movement between cyclic perspective and the linear perspective of time, and the experience of temporal continuity, exploring what might form the basis of our senses of the duration of time.  The work consists of a rectangle wood panel leaning against the gallery wall. There are superimposed patterns of painted forms and chalk drawings on the surface, and bleeding onto the gallery wall. At the center of the wooden panel, a moving image is screened through a circular hole centered within its core. The installation invites interaction through the proximity of the viewer's body that generates movement and sound. Wood, monitor, paint,  wall drawing, moving images 4 minutes, sound.

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