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An exhibition in response to ATMA Dance

“Mayuri Boonham’s Ex Nihilo was still in the relatively early stages of production when I attended her companies (ATMA Dance) residency at Pavilion Dance South West.  I decided to create photographic sketches to illustrate this.  The wonderful Seafront Studio with its huge south facing, frosted glass windows created a beautiful, diffuse light.  This worked well for achieving the sketch style I sought, allowing me to shoot in an extreme high key style.


When the rehearsals progressed into the Ocean Room Theatre the lighting was the opposite.  Shafts of very low level, tungsten light hitting the dancers as both they and the lighting designer, Guy Hoare, attempted to co-ordinate their movements with the lighting.  I envisaged a similar sketch style but in reverse, as white sketches on a black background.  I also felt this worked particularly well with the theme of the piece being the creation of the universe, Ex Nihilo meaning ‘out of nothing.’

Ex Nihilo went on to be shown at the Royal Opera House, with whom Mayuri is an affiliate choreographer.” Simon Tomkinson

“I spent an intriguing day with ATMA Dance company following them through rehearsals for a new piece called Ex Nihilo/The Human Edge created by Mayuri Boonham. This contemporary work is based on Creation Myths from ancient Indian texts. 

During the rehearsals the dancers were working in groups and pairs discussing and trying ideas that would express an abstract idea or concept about the Big Bang or even before. I worked quickly trying to record a gesture or movement. Sometimes I focused and followed one particular dancer and sometimes on a group.  Back in my studio I have enhanced the work by adding more detail or colour. I am currently working on abstract ideas that have come out of this experience.
My aim on that day as Artist in Residence was to capture the spirit and essence of the performers as they move through space, time, sound and light.
I hope that you can see this reflected in my paintings.” Rita Brown

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