Heather Hansen began by bowing her head twice, acknowledging the presence of standing audiences in the gallery at OCHI Projects. No music followed. Instead, a respectable silence filled the room while the residual heat of late September afternoon continued to smolder.
Dressed in black, Hansen laid her back on the clean white canvas stretched on the floor. She held two large charcoal sticks. Fresh black arcs lively came into being. Paul Klee once described a line as a point going for a walk. That romantic notion rang true as the artist’s body tossed and turned, commanding the swinging arms to birth many the circular lines. Imagine marrying Shigeko Kubota’s Vagina Painting with Cy Twonmbly’s rhythm.
The cocoon-like form quickly evolved as it ate away at the pristine surface. The symmetry also grew steadily in size, suggesting a larger-than-life Rorschach ink blot that was alive and transforming, as if Hansen’s inner psyche was being liberated. No longer confined inside Hansen’s body, her mind assertively expressed its will on the canvas; boldly and sensually.
The most beautiful moments were subtle and easy to miss. Small amounts of charcoal dusts rose and flew in the air each time Hansen traced a line or smeared a shape. Their ephemeral nature was the reminder that the experience was what lingered — not the performance, not the artist, or not even the work itself.
In a matter of just a few minutes, Hansen was done. She rose to her feet, bowed twice, and walked away, leaving the canvas behind. What remained was not the drawing, but the memory of her dancing.
Heather Hansen’s Drawn Inward is on view at OCHI Projects through November 7, 2015.
All images courtesy of gallery.