Friday, February 20, 2015

ALL-NEW // "Screenings 2015"

This is the third installment of Screenings, an installation of spontaneous film sketches inspired by the Mattress Factory's Gestures series. In this ongoing exhibition series, artists have been invited to create a new work specifically for the Mattress Factory's lobby projection screen. Each artist was asked to provide a quick and gestural "sketch" and encouraged to experiment outside their normal way of working. The first screening of 2015 will be Jen Gooch's Conviction, which will run from February 20 - March 12 in the Mattress Factory Lobby.

Running Time: 35 minutes
FROM THE ARTIST // The last few years my art and music practice has come to incorporate dance. Recently I began studying early American rhythmic dance styles, precursors to tap dance and clogging, like buck and flatfoot. These late 19th-early 20th century Southern and Mountain styles immediately reminded me of the way churchgoers would "dance in the spirit" throughout my upbringing in a Pentecostal church in Texas. The cheerful, driving rhythm of these early folk styles are not unlike the clap-on-the-upbeat, tambourine-fueled gospel of my childhood. While secular dance and "worldly" music were prohibited, church members were still encouraged to explore dance's cathartic qualities, though warned to avoid sexualized movements – "dancing in the flesh." This line between the spirit and the flesh, sacred versus secular, is a common struggle in the history of gospel as it grapples to deny and contend with its inseparable evil twin, the blues (and its offspring, rock and roll, soul, etc.).

Jenn Gooch is a multi-media artist and musician from Texas, living and working in Pittsburgh, PA. Her web-based community project One Cold Hand received international press, including USA Today and NPR. She recently ran a tailoring and textile studio, WERK, where she began Gender-Neutral Learn-to-Sew, a free workshop made possible in part part by a Seed Award from The Sprout Fund. Jenn is a multi-instrumental musician and singer/songwriter who dances flatfoot and fiddles with her band, Gift Horse. She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.

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