These are 3 drawings I did of the female form. Someone
had commented that my art looked like a vagina and at first I was a little
stunned – was I really doing that? But then I realized that it is perfectly
fine for me to show the parts of the women’s body that are beautiful. From that
one email, I did a series of drawings in pastels or oil pastels. Two are of the
body and I like how strong they looked – strong, powerful thighs that are
holding us up. And then I am attaching the drawing of the vagina that I did for
the woman who first noticed that my drawings were paying tribute to women.
"Elaine Summers has two identities: a respected choreographer coming out of the Judson Dance Theater and a highly influential teacher of Kinetic Awareness, a system permitting an extraordinary range of movement that has been studied by many people in the performing arts"
The Drama Review DANCE/MOVEMENT ISSUE VOL 24 #4)
Loving My Tension: Or How To Care For Your Tension
I love my tension so I give it lots of Vitamin B, especially B 12 and Folic Acid. I listen for proprioceptive signals to balance calcium and protein for the energy to flow through my muscles and be able to confidently release and give me the most movement for the least tension. I ought to treat my adrenaline system better but I do love that one cup of coffee.
I give it lots of chances to be intense, fast, stretch, contract, expand, articulate, extend, release, relax, collapse and respond. It is always greedy for movement so my tension loves to dance, swim, wiggle & squiggle. We need to move every muscle, every joint often without pain, as a way to stay healthy.
As a choreographer I want dancers to understand and experience the full scale of all the elements of their tension. Dancers need safety through alignment and flexibility and an understanding of their own bodies. They need to explore and experience the totality and the edges of their own dance. I love a dancers' vocabulary to include the intelligent development of high extensions, long extensions, responsiveness in improvisation, endurance, daring, leaps, falls and to have experiential confidence in the pre-thought swiftness of their reflexes.
Sheila writes in the "Weaving My Ancestors Voices" statement:
'The voice is the first and ultimate instrument – it is the one means of expression used by every culture. Although different instruments often have relationships with each other across the continents, they come in different forms, they are played differently... but the voice remains biologically the same across all people. The means by which it is used, the sounds different peoples choose to emulate, is fascinating. The voice is connected to your blood supply! Because of this biological relationship, it is always going to be closer to your instinct, your soul and your emotion – rather than your intellect. The spirit of my ancestors is more accessible to me via the voice – it links into all cultures throughout time.
I was born and brought up in England by my Indian family, and growing up I felt a great gap – an absence of roots and a context in which to place myself. In England I was surrounded by cultural stereotypes and images of the 'English rose' and knew I was never going to be like that. I was always an obsessive singer and when my adult voice developed, it was in a low register. In most Western traditions it is felt a woman's voice needs to be high but, to my great relief, I discovered that in the Asian tradition it is quite acceptable for a woman to have either a high or low range. My vocal technique developed from there with an instinctive interest in ornamentation. I then found something which was 'home' – and for me music is home. That is where I express my intention most accurately.
Incidentally and anxiously, I discover and draw from the meanderings of the female image in our culture, as it addresses me. I treat the cultural, commercial and personal as one in my work, through a process of collecting, collaging and manipulating images into my paintings. Elements coexist in the paintings to describe the anxiety associated with inhabiting a medial self consciousness.
In my current work I'm exploring the balancing act of being both an artist and a mother, expressing intense emotional feelings over the motherhood experience. As we are never prepared for the ever changing mandates of tending to young children, my theme is constantly changing as the demands of motherhood change.
I like to share my pictures of myself struggling in the daily mundane routines of being a mother and find relief in painting what I am feeling at the time. I am hoping that other women will see my art, feel a connection and that will create peace of mind as they see themselves in me.
In this piece I address how for many women, we fight with body image issues, and often deal with self-loathing as a result of being told by media that there is but one acceptable body type (often photoshopped to the X degree). It is the breaking of that mirror of how we perceive ourselves, also the not wanting to see our bodies and maybe even the break from all the stereotypes we are constantly being bombarded with about women's bodies.
When a girl ceases to blush, she has lost the most powerful charm of her beauty. – Pope Gregory I
There are no good girls gone wrong, just bad girls found out. – Mae West
I love bad girls; subversive, naughty, totally thrilling girls. I love to paint bad girls. I can never imagine a truly dangerous woman – and I mean that in the best possible sense - being ashamed of her body.