“Be Somewhere” Featuring Dance and Art in the Alvin Gittins Gallery

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In a collaboration with students of University of Utah’s School of Dance, artist David Habben, a Art and Art History MFA student at the U, wraps up his gallery, “Be Somewhere,” depicting the energy and movement of dancing.

It started out as Habben’s desire to simply experience the School of Dance on a visit to one of their studios; but Habben’s brief experience morphed into a collaboration and later an actual project with the dancers, resulting in the series of abstract drawings and audio that make up this exhibit.

The literal title of the exhibit, “Be Somewhere” is a reference to the mental presence of a dancer, who must be being present and aware during their dance and performance.

“Be Somewhere” in the Alvin Gittins Gallery. Photo credit Adam Fondren.

“My hope was to create a space for contemplation,” Habben said. “With the work being focused on the interpretation of dance, movement and music, it was important for me to facilitate an opportunity where the viewer could truly take the time to find these elements for themselves and to be able to do so without distraction.”

Instead of precise and lined drawing, Habben’s art in this exhibit is created in what he calls “illustrative impressionistic drawings,” which are drawings formed by brush and ink, inspired entirely by the evolving movements of a dancer.

“As an illustrator, my initial reaction is always to draw something, but the movement of the dancers was so powerful, I felt the need to try a different approach. The brush and ink work started as an experiment and evolved into something that both I and the dancers were able to find a connection in,” Habben said.

The exhibit features nearly 50 pieces of art, each depicting a different movement. One piece in particular is over 20 feet long and stands eight feet tall. It portrays the movement and energy of many dancers following a class.

“Be Somewhere” in the Alvin Gittins Gallery. Photo credit Adam Fondren.

In addition to Habben’s interpretation of the dancers’ movement, the audio recording which plays overhead features sound from the dance studio where the inspiration and art for this work took place. The addition of the audio engages the audience in a rather unconventional, but successful way by providing a multifaceted experience.

Habben hopes that students who have viewed this exhibit will “experience something that will challenge them a bit more than many of the art we show at the U […] It’s going to ask them to consider how they define their expectations in a new way.”

“Go with an open mind,” Habben suggested. “Artists work very hard to engage you in ways that bring you into their world and consider your own with new perspective.”

“Be Somewhere” by David Habben opened March 20 and will continue to run until March 28 in the Alvin Gittins Gallery in the Art & Art History Building. For more information about David Habben and to view some of his work, visit his website at http://habbenink.com/.

l.randall@dailyutahchronicle.com

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