A critique of Brieanna M. Bradley’s Simplicity in the Center, 2011. Photograph collage on black foam board.
Simplicity in the Center, by Brieanna M. Bradley, is a collage of photographs pasted on four layers of black foam board. Each layer is composed of cut up pieces of themed photographs, suggesting the different stages of a dance performance. The outermost layer is of Roberts Theater, and contains jagged placed pieces of the outside of the theater. The next layer is composed of the seats in the theater, also jagged and pointed yet positioned to fit together. The seats are a bright red color, and while no people are seated in them, this layer is suggestive of the aspect of the audience in a dance performance. The third layer is of stage lights, which are pointed towards the fourth and final layer at the bottom center, of a single woman dancing. The layers possibly represent the different stresses that go into a dance performance, yet the title suggests that at the core of a performance the most important part of it is the simplest: the dance and the dancer.
The outer layers are chaotic and exude stress. What serve as unifiers of the piece are the rectangular layers and the centered dancer at the middle. The simplicity of the centered photograph guides the viewer’s eye away from the chaos of the other layers, although these layers (and stresses) are still viewable in the viewer’s peripheral vision as well as in the dancer’s peripherals.
There are two prominent colors in the piece. The most obvious is the red of the seats in the second outer layer. The bright red possibly refers to the importance of the audience and yet the seats are empty which could refer to the looming presence of audience members to come. The other color in the piece is the blue in the layer with the lights. It is a bright light blue and is the curtain of the stage in Roberts Theater. The blue is positioned as to appear to be behind the dancer in the center and bottom layer. Blue is a calming color and could refer to the security of the curtain that separates the dancer from the audience and the front stage from backstage.
The concept Brieanna chose is transience. The aspect of transience in this piece could refer to the evolving process of a dance performance. Although I am not a dancer I am aware that, like this very project itself, the vision a choreographer and dancer have prior to learning and executing a dance is vastly different from the final project. There are often changes a dancer must make to adapt the dance to her body and skill set as well as to the resources such as the theater and stage. The dancer must also adapt the performance to the audience, and each individual member of the audience perceives a unique interpretation of the dance. Thus, the entire process of a dance performance is not concrete but transient.