November 5-27, 2011
Tim Best and Tom Leininger bring together two diverging points of performance for a two-person show in the Upstairs Gallery at 500X in Dallas from November 5 through 27.
Tim Best, a Dallas based artist, stages dramatic emotive scenes. His work presented is from his “making a scene” project that includes photography, video and a book release. The setting is blackness as if it were the mind void of thought. Then a spotlight illuminates a figure doing nothing but expressing emotion, that uniquely human behavior that inspires both constructive and destructive action. The drama is about to unfold but instead of live performance, Tim Best captures this with a still camera. He used a list of 49 emotions found on Wikipedia to call out emotions that the actor spontaneously improvised under the spotlight. Total focus is on the facial expression, the physical gestures and the wardrobe flying through space in crisp detail. Drama itself and the process of creating drama is the subject of Best’s work.
Emotion drives Best’s work. “In my experience, it is the root of all drama. In this body of work I direct actors and models through a sequence of emotions. Rather than assume the role of observer in a dispassionate way, I choose to actively set up these performances in the studio.
The resulting photographs are surreal, subconscious reconstructions and rearrangements of ‘reality’ that come out of the experience of improvising the emotions. The chiaroscuro of the spotlight illuminating the figure in the darkness implies a tension between real life and the imaginary.” Tom Leininger is a Denton based photographer whose work is rooted in reality and based on private moments individuals are able to carve out for themselves at public events. The color photographs are found rather staged. They are part of his ongoing series “Sidelines”. The events at which the images were first made may have been staged, but the images are not about the events, rather those on the side who are watching.
“The event brings people together, which becomes the fodder for me to explore,” Leininger says about the work. “I am not interested in the place or the event, but rather how all of these different events add up to one big staged show in which the script is written after the event.”