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Butoh and Paint, Smoke and Ash

Cabaret art by Rick Berry My friend Rick Berry (who is one of the people who first taught me how to paint with oils) has a new series of painting inspired by a stage production of Cabaret -- which can currently be viewed at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH; and also on Rick's website. All of his art is gorgeous, but I've always liked this kind of monochromatic "oil paint sketch" the very best. 

"These are not renderings," he says, "but impressions of dancers from the KitKat Klub, the setting for a production of  at the Oberon Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As I watched rehearsals, the movement coach, Steven Mitchell Wright, had the performers go through Butoh training. I'd heard of Butoh, seen stills from various dances, but never experienced it in action. Crushing really. So instead of doing some sort of rogues' gallery pastiche (as had earlier been imagined being hung in the venue) I did these. I wanted something like images of ghosts projected on smoke and ash. Just at the moment you think you've resolved them, they shimmer and erode before your eyes. Color paintings of a world that's lost all sense of it."

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