2017 Alembic Artists

One of our favorite moments each year is the announcement of the latest cohort of PWNW’s Alembic Resident Artists, along with thanks to the panel and all the applicants. So here goes:

Our 2017 Alembic Artists are Susanne Chi, Catherine Egan, and Matthew Fielder/Grind Group. Our deep thanks for a thoughtful and thorough panel process goes out to Subashini Ganesan, Maggie Heath, Danielle Ross and Stephanie Lavon Trotter. And of course we honor all the artists who stepped up and took the risk to share their work and ideas with the panel members.

Now, let us introduce our newest Alembic Artists!

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Suzanne Chi is a dancer and producer in Portland, Oregon, where she is the co-artistic of Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance. She has danced in work by choreographers including Minh Tran, Carla Mann, Dawn Stoppiello, Tere Mathern, Rachel Slater, Lindsey Matheis, Franco Nieto, and Tracey Durbin. Most recently, she performed in Tahni Holt’s Sensation/Disorientation, presented by White Bird Dance. Suzanne’s dance performance has been showcased at the Remix Festival in Philadelphia, PA, Northwest New Works Festival at On the Boards, as a part of Velocity’s Bridge Project in Seattle, and at the Theater im Pumpenhaus in Münster, Germany. She was a resident at the Bessie Schönberg Residency at the Yard on Martha’s Vineyard. Suzanne earned her BA in Dance from Muhlenberg College and has a graduate degree from the National College of Natural Medicine. She practices acupuncture at Rose City Physical Therapy.

My motivation applying for this residency this year is to answer this question: what is the role of contemporary dance technique in experimental process and work? When does technique serve the work, and when does it dilute it? Keeping this question at the forefront of my process, what kind of work results?


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Photo: Chelsea Petrakis

Catherine Egan is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on performance. Contemporary dance, new performance, physical theater and European clown inform her practice which encompasses sculpture, costume, mask, video, sound and light. Egan’s work sullies the line between the museum worthy visual disciplines and the trashy world of the live stage. Silence, field recordings, sound effects and sonic appropriation are used as source material.

A performer since the age of five, Catherine is the product of public school and municipal arts programming. While working towards her biochemistry degree, she acted in stage and video productions, and took modern dance classes for P.E. credit. She would later travel to San Francisco and New York for further dance training outside the academic world.

Her work with Push Leg includes Directing and co-writing the devised work “Avoidance” presented at Performance Works Northwest, spring 2015. And an individual Drammy for Best Movement Design for 2014’s Nighthawks. The production, in which she also performed as part of the ensemble cast, won a Drammy for Best Devised Work.

She has an extensive history working with Imago Theatre, touring with the company throughout North America including a month-long run at The New Victory Theater in New York.

I create worlds as a container for performance. Creating is how I verify my freedom. Drawing upon tradition and technology, my work tells a human story, in our time, now.

Adaptation, struggle, cooperation, objectification – these themes, recur in my work, taking form through movement, sound, light, words and gesture. As a choreographer, I use pop music, avant-garde compositions and sound effects for improvisational armature. Dark humor serves as subterfuge for social satire.

The Alembic residency will allow me to continue the development of my current project, civilized. Civilized is a cross disciplinary performance utilizing movement, sound and sculpture. Civilized scrutinizes what we perceive when we look and how that perception is colored by the different lenses we choose to apply. I am using ice as a lens in civilized, ice as a source of visual distortion, ice as a sculpture medium, ice as a movement metaphor, ice as a sound generator and ice as a literal example of civilization collapse.


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Matthew Fielder works across the disciplines of art, music, writing, video, and performance. His eclectic work has been presented in a number of venues and festivals including the MIT museum, Human Resources Gallery, Forrest Lawn Cemetery/The Silent Movie Theater, Performance Now! and Automata. He is the creative/conceptual director of Grind Group, an experimental, multi-media performance group based in Portland, Oregon.

This residency is an amazing opportunity to not only engage in the very necessary and important act of artistic experimentation, it also provides the time, space, and critical support from which to explore new forms and develop new work; this is crucial to any artist(s) interested in challenging their own process and furthering their practice.

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