For some people, looking at abstract art can be confusing. Our human nature demands that we compare the abstract image in front of us to look like, or remind us of something. Abstractions are simplifications or exaggerations of images that we know and recognize. Most of my paintings are abstractions of dancers and the dance experience. So why not paint people dancing? I have removed the dancers from my compositions to refocus the attention on the interaction between the figures and forms on the canvas. Without the presence of people, the viewer is not distracted by facial expressions or correct body proportions, but instead can begin to focus their attention on the energy between the forms. Abstractions encourage the audience to investigate and question instead of accepting things they think they know as truths.
Lead and follow and the communication needed to generate the success of the dance are an important aspect of what inspires my love for dancing. For lead and follow to work correctly, there must be a connection between partners generated by either an extension energy (when the partners are leaning away from one another) or a compression energy (when the partners are leaning towards one another). Look at these paintings to find that extension or stretching motion between figures as well as the compression of the two figures coming together. The layouts of the compositions are inspired by different dance moves.
While not all of my paintings can be directly correlated to a specific dance move, many of my paintings get their inspirations from watching and experiencing dance. I derive some of my abstractions from specific moves while other paintings and drawings capture a mood.
This painting, titled: "Leverage and Her Hips" was directly inspired by the leverage between two dancers. The follower is leaning into the arms of the leader with an "extenstion energy". "Leverage and Her Hips" is not a painting to resemble specific dancers, but is inspired by the energy between the partnership that is required to communicate this move.
"Winding Whip" shows the connection and the movement of two figures doing a whip in West Coast Swing. The round shapes at the top of the figures helps the audience make the connection to human heads. Here are several of my paintings and drawings that have this head-like feature to the figure: