Ornament is an end in itself in CHELA Gallery performance

Scene: clubs, bars, nightlife

December 11, 2003|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

About 10 years ago, West Virginia native Catherine Pancake came to Baltimore for an outdoor street festival, and from the moment she arrived, the artist felt at home.

When the trip was over, Pancake knew that Charm City was where she wanted to live.

"[It's] a really nonpretentious creative atmosphere," said Pancake. "The people were very collaborative and very open."

After moving to town, she immediately got involved in projects with other local artists, she said.

And a decade later, Pancake, who is known for her films and experimental music, is still working with other creative Baltimoreans.

Her most recent endeavor will take place tomorrow and Saturday at the CHELA Gallery in Canton.

Transmodern Age: Otherworldly Adornment is a two-night performance event that will bring together some of the area's most innovative creators, including musicians, dancers and painters.

The participants, some of whom are not typically involved in performance art, will be broaching new creative territory, an idea Pancake encouraged.

"I'm trying to nudge people a little bit out of their range and inspire them to do something a little different," she said.

Each of the presented or performed works will be a variation on the theme of ornamentation, both cultural and personal, and will be accompanied by live music.

"It's an opportunity for personal self-expression. Everybody will have on some type of outfit or costume or adornment that they have built for the night," said Pancake of the performer participants whom she selected for the show.

The venue will also be filled with artistic and elaborate embellishments.

CHELA co-founder Bonnie Jones said the large and lofty warehouse space, located in an old broom factory, will be transformed by props and other performance-related accompaniments, including installations, video projections and monkey bars.

The unique mix of audio and visual stimulation, Pancake said, will allow those involved to push the boundaries of art-making in Baltimore.

"All of the artists are really very experimental people, and I imagine that they will all be doing something with the audience that is ... pretty intriguing and pretty challenging," she said.

"I think the scene is going to be pretty exciting."

CHELA Gallery is at 3500 Boston St., No. 210. "Transmodern Age: Otherworldly Adornment" will take place both tomorrow and Saturday night. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. both nights and the shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 410-342-1800 or visit www. chelagallery.org.

For club events, see Page 38.

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