EFFORT ECONOMY - BLUE STAR CONTEMPORARY - 2019








all photos courtesy Jacqueline McGilvray 

Blue Star contemporary
February 1 – May 5, 2019
Reflecting on dancer and theorist Rudolf Laban’s ideas related to effort and movement the exhibition features artists whose work utilizes choreography in some form. Movement and the body are essential to the works in the exhibition, with artists considering the design and sequencing of movement as it relates to dance, sports, daily life, eroticism, and more. Other ideas presented through this exhibition include internal rhythm and time as forces we connect our bodies to, and our drive for interconnectivity to one another in both the material and immaterial world.
Laban introduced the term effort in the context of modern dance theory as a mental impulse where movement originates. He designated four factors of motion— space, weight, time and flow— that embody effort. The combination of these factors generates the dynamic of movement. Laban also defined basic actions relating to effort: to press, to flick, to wring, to dab, to slash, to glide, to punch and to float.
Using Laban’s theories as a foundation, this exhibition also considers the varied definitions of the terms effort and economy in combination with one another. We look at different contexts where our movements are calculated, sometimes the parameters fabricated or designed by the artists. Artists consider how the expenditure of energy can be optimized, futile, emotional, healing, sensual, mundane, and create new aesthetic languages. The works generate questions around the values we assign to the exerting effort, whether this be monetary, economic, social, or moral.

Raul Gonzalez’s drawings in the exhibition focus on the efforts and labors of the artist’s daily life. Depicting scenes of himself with his daughters in the studio, home, and out and about, the work draws attention to how we parse the minuets of our day and balance our roles, responsibilities, and multifaceted personalities, through the lens of an artist-stay at home dad. Gonzalez’ interests in construction, labor, and the working-class thread through these works through the subtle integration of safety orange, concrete, house paint, and scenes of teaching his daughters to use tools. Concurrently the works highlight the social and economic dichotomy between home-work (“women’s work”) and manual labor. They bring to surface the values assigned to labor in different spheres, their gendering, and possible cultural shifts.