2 Dec 2006
Maria Hayes & Paul Davies
The Dance House Wales Millennium Centre
December 1, 2006
A magical bouquet of sound, movement and elegantly produced line drawing that relaxed, stimulated and amused. This on-going fusion of the work of fine artist Maria Hayes and dancer Paul Davies is fascinating to watch and absorb and totally enriching. The amuse bouche, a short introductory work to draw us into the warmth of the Vesica Piscis, Destinations was played to the romantic background of Argentinean nuevo tango composer Astor Piazzola. This enabled dancer Paul Davies, dressed in black cut-off trousers and tee-shirt with his round shaved head, to perform sharp robotic movements, standing on a square of orange light, as visual artist Maria Hayes, also in black stood at her easel, swiftly covering her large sheet of white paper with dashing, delicate line drawings that form the core of most of her work, the artist drawing from “the tonal shifts of the dancer’s movement”.
A second piece of artwork was projected onto a central screen, the dancer moved between the image and the projector, his movement became more sensual as he caught parts of the image on his body as the music became more liquid. The audience was invited to remove their shoes and stand or sit around the edge of the stage and observe the action more closely. A more traditional tango beat emerged enabling our dancer to turn away from the discordant movements of ‘modern dance’ and take on a dazzling Fred Astaire image as he danced and teased the audience as he moved amongst them. Destination was a skilful and precise work with a touch of mystery and humour to add spice to the cocktail.
“The Vesica Piscis is formed by the intersection of two circles whose centres exactly touch. This symbolic intersection represents the “common ground”, “shared vision” or “mutual understanding” between equal individuals. The shape of the human eye itself is a Vesica Piscis. The spiritual significance of “seeing eye to eye” to the “mirror of the soul” was highly regarded by numerous Renaissance artists who used this form extensively in art and architecture. The ratio of the axes of the form is the square root of 3, which alludes to the deepest nature of the triune which cannot be adequately expressed by rational language alone.” It is also an image imbued with religious significance.
Two large circles of blank white paper, about four feet in diameter, are placed on the floor at the centre of the stage, one point on the circumference of each placed on the centre point of the other. The dancer, now in black bathing shorts sits across the two circles. The artist kneels beside him, her right hand holding the dancer’s back, in her left she holds a lump of black charcoal. The music is from complex jazz musician Jeff Beal’s score to the film Pollock, an Oscar winning study of the artist’s work and life, another fusion of music and fine art. Hayes’ work does contain echoes of Jackson Pollock and maybe they work in a similar manner, hence the choice of music.
Here the artists really entwine, Hayes showing an extremely dancer-like response with fluid and telling movements forming a strong partnership and ‘dialogue’ with Davies. The speed of her drawing increases with the music, becoming almost frantic as she draws around the dancer’s body then on to it both in black charcoal, red streaks and other colours. His body has become her canvas. The dancer now seems to be drawing his inspiration from the artist’s work and the charismatic vocals of Tom Waits. They move away and we look down at the painting on the floor. Maria Hayes is acknowledged as a very fine artist, the improvised drawing before us will not be her greatest work but it is the child of the music and the dance.
Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan