Thursday, November 8, 2012

holy fool

Friday, November 9, will be another busy night in the Duluth arts scene with a very exciting lineup of shows. I already mentioned Russell V. Gran's Curmudgeon show at Washington Galleries, starting at 6:00. Ochre Ghost on Second Avenue East is featuring Lindsay Rhyner's Fun Fur and Holiday Garbage art opening from 7:00 till 11:00 p.m. And the Prøve Collective will have its November art opening as well, also from 7:00 till 11:00, the theme being Light.

For me, the centerpiece of all these shows for me will be holy fool, a live performance and multimedia installation by Kathy McTavish and Sheila Packa at Sacred Heart Music Center on Fourth Street. Holy fool is the culmination of a year-long project by cellist, composer and transmedia artist, Kathy McTavish in conjunction with a team of collaborators to produce a multi-sensory, immersive reflection on our times.

The full cast also features Cathy Podeszwa (illumination), Cecilia Ramon (the infinite line), Molly Tillotson (iron bells), and Carla Stetson (the map / the sky).

I’ve become increasingly fascinated with the creative work of Kathy McTavish, especially since her Phantom Galleries Superior event in 2011 and her Birdland exhibition at the Duluth Art Institute. Last night I spoke with McTavish briefly about the origin of the name what it was like assembling the team for this project.

“I am interested in the fool as archetype,” she said. “We live life foolishly in some ways,” which is both a good and bad thing. At the center of holy fool is “the tension between rage regarding where we’re at as a species and a prayer of blessing to the world.”

Her partner in much of her work is Sheila Packa, Duluth’s gifted Poet Laureate who grew up in a Finnish-speaking family in Biwabik on the Range. Holy fool synthesizes many of the projects that the two have developed for gallery events over the course of the past year, being the culmination of this past year’s creative efforts and explorations. Holy fool layers stories on top of stories, visual elements and sound elements with many intersections that serve to form a gestalt.

In listening to McTavish talk about the work, I get the sense that they are striving to produce something as culturally significant as Ginsberg's Howl .

Another player in Friday’s show is Cecelia Ramon of Argentina. “I love her work, her sculptures.” Said McTavish. “It changes you to see someone else’s insights as they approach things.”

Tickets are available for $10 through the Sacred Heart Music Center. Event begins at 7:00 through 9:00 p.m. 


The holy fool project is funded by the Jerome Foundation. This activity is also funded, in part, by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

A short event trailer can be accessed at Vimeo .
There is also a holy fool Facebook event page .

To learn more about the art of Kathy McTavish, visit: www.cellodreams.com

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