Copeland Fellows Idan Cohen, Eric Leonardson, Matana Roberts and Artist in Residence Rebekah Tolley reflect on varying modes of “research” in their multidisciplinary work, exploring how their creative process shapes the works they produce.
About the panelists:
Idan Cohen was born and raised in Israel in Kibbutz Mizra, a socialist community. The kibbutz lifestyle has had a wide effect on his artistic life and work. He danced with the world-renowned Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Since 2005, Idan has been performing, creating and teaching as an international award- winning choreographer. A psychological sensibility, a keen sense of musicality, and a profound understanding of cultural context lend Cohen’s work a rare combination of analysis and compassion. Cohen has toured with his work internationally and been invited as a guest artist and teacher worldwide.
Eric Leonardson is a Chicago-based composer/improvisor, sound designer, visual artist and teacher. Leonardson’s work relies on a broad understanding of texture, atmosphere and microtones and includes the invention of the Springboard-- an electroacoustic percussion instrument made from readily available materials. Its sounds belie its humble origins, thanks to the rich enharmonic timbres of bowed coil springs and the curious sound of the crude wooden daxophones-- all amplified by a single, inexpensive piezoelectric contact mic. Leonardson is a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Media Arts Fellowship (2002 and 2006) and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Matana Roberts is a Chicago-born, New York-based saxophonist, improviser and composer who works as a soloist and a multimedia collaborator. Her current sound project, "COIN COIN," brings a genealogical history of Africans in America together with research into her own ancestry. She says of her work, "COIN COIN is a compositional sound language that I have been developing since 2006. My initial interest in creating this work came from my childhood fascination with ghosts, spirits, spooks and the faint traces of what they leave behind. I have a deep interest in old, antique objects of human existence, mostly because of the variety of story that can be created, factual or not, from the possibility of their being. This project is a combination of those interests as well as my delight in musical communication, ritual adornment and the genealogical 20th-century history of Africans in America. In some instances I am using information that I have gleaned from research into my own ancestral history, as inspiration and area of creative consideration. The musical root of much of this work also stems from my continued attractionto /repulsion from certain aspects of the American Jazz tradition(s) which I am deeply involved with as an alto saxophonist." Various movements of the piece have already been composed, workshopped and performed. The first movement, Chapter 1: "Gens De Couleur Libres (or free people of color)," was recently released as an audio album.
Rebekah Tolley is a printmaker and digital media artist. Her work uses traditional printmaking and digitally generated imagery in animated sequences that are projected onto sculptural forms. She is represented in collections at the Hood Museum of Art, Library and Archives Canada, The National Library of Quebec, The Boston Public Library, the Amity Art Foundation and the Kohler Library, as well as numerous other public and private collections. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in Canada, France, China, Japan and across the United States. She received her B.F.A. from Concordia University in Montreal and her M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She has taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Colby-Sawyer College, Two Rivers Printmaking Studio in Vermont, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and Davidson College and is currently Visiting Artist in Residence at Amherst College.
This event is co-sponsored by the Copeland Colloquium and Frost Library as part of a Frost Library series exploring the intersections of research, the arts and cultural production. The Copeland Colloquium 2012/13 is sponsored in part by the Amherst Art Series Fund.
"Art in Place / the Place of Art" is a one-year interdisciplinary arts series at Amherst College which explores the myriad relationships that the arts have with place and how artistic practice helps to shape our senses of place, identity, communities, cultures, institutions and conversations. It is organized by faculty from the Departments of Art and the History of Art, Music and Theater and Dance, as well as the Mead Art Museum and the Frost Library.