As part of the Santa Monica Mountains’ Arts in Parks program, Los Angeles painter Kim West has installed a new work in the beautifully decaying, empty 650,000-gallon pool at Peter Strauss Ranch. West’s project includes a washy, fractured mural of over 100 feet of gestural and abstracted poppies, a play structure-cum-easel with attached “layer paintings,” a color stained ladder, painted fire pits, and light elements that together form an installation about memory, loss and layers.
At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, 2017, the installation will be activated – and permanently altered with shears and flames – in a one night only collaborative site-specific performance by Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre and experimental sound artist Davy Sumner.
West is a painter best known for her murals in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District, including her 5-story Only One Way Through on Hauser Wirth, which has been described as “dreamlike” by the New York Times. The work in LAKE ENCHANTO is a natural evolution of West’s studio practice, which she states, “engages with memories, creating fractured realities with washy landscapes and color-forward botanical motifs that become allegorical events.” LAKE ENCHANTO literally and figuratively expands on notions of what happens when sacred memories begin to fade.
From the pool’s adjacent terraced hillside, three female dancers from the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, dressed in vintage bathing suits and caps, will descend in billows of color just as the sun dips behind the Santa Monica Mountains. As the dancers enter and move throughout the chipped, dripped, and aqua patinaed pool, their choreography guides the audience to rotate with them, sundial-style, around the crater’s center platform. Their movements are accompanied by composer Davy Sumner’s amplification of nature sounds, old-time-pool-side-music, and sonically manipulated physical elements of the pool itself.
“As part of their performance, the dancers’ choreography will move them to the climbing play structure, where they will peel back the attached layer paintings, revealing the stained under-works for the first time. As they peel, pull and tug to remove the top painting layers, they also cut, rip and tear – thus rendering some work into fragmented forms, which will be distributed as mementos to audience members,” says West. “Other works will be delivered to the pool’s platform fire pits, where dancers will tend flames and form a ritualistic pyre.”
Following the LAKE ENCHANTO performance, National Park Service Ranger Anthony Bevilacqua will lead a short talk on the Night Sky, the Cosmos, and our collective connection to the stars.
The performance is free and open to the public, with RSVP tickets for the performance required. Following the performance, the altered installation will remain on site and open to the public during park hours through September 30, 2017.