If there’s one thing you do this weekend, promise me you’ll go see Lorenzo, Isabella and the Pot of Basil.
Situated in the FIT shipping container outside the west side of The Waldorf Hotel (aka Vancouver’s hottest, most relevant art & culture space), it is a superbly executed pair of videos featuring contemporary dancers Jennifer Mcleish-Lewis & Josh Martin.
The diptych is simple in concept: woman vs man and black vs white (room, costume, and makeup). Yet these apparent simplicities are but the seeds for a truly remarkable, energetic, irresistible piece of art.
Director Brian Johnson has chosen a huge, dark warehouse for the male half of the work. A slightly smaller, nearly entirely white studio is the world in which the female character glides.
Johnson has mastered the light & shadows of these spaces. The white of the female studio is bright & stark, yet every piece of Mcleish-Lewis’ angular face and flowing robes are perfectly exposed (light exposure, not skin exposure. smiley face). In the darker male warehouse, two great ceiling lamps have just a slight flare, and the charcoal black floor becomes scraped with arcing swipes by Martin’s hip-hop inspired pop & lock moves. The result looks like an ice rink inversed.
Johnson also captures an incredible range of field depth – full open wide angle, giving a sense of the stark warehouse/studio, right to full close ups showing the focused expressions of Martin’s jester eyes to the white makeup on Mcleish-Lewis’ manga-sized, sensually closed eyelids.
video still of contemporary dancer Jennifer Mcleish-Lewis in "Lorenzo, Isabella and the Pot of Basil"
Yet this doesn’t read like an ADHD music video; all cinematography and edits are made with complete respect for the dancers, highlighting their overflowing talent.
Mcleish-Lewis and Martin have such complete control of their bodies, and fluctuate from soft and slow to sharp and sudden with such electric energy, I felt I could have watched this all night.
The piece is driven by an intense electronic score (on 2 separate tracks – the oppositions continue!) by John Korsrud of Hard Rubber Orchestra.
Director Josh Martin has scored a serious homerun with this piece. Yet unlike some art mediums (painting, drawing, sculpture…), film work (including feature films and television), must be the result of a team effort to be a fully realized piece. In Lorenzo, Isabella and the Pot of Basil, the team is an expertly crafted firearm: it loads, (pop &) locks, and fires!
Oh, and when the video ends, and you haven’t yet seen a loop? Stick around – there’s more video than first meets the eye.
Lorenzo, Isabella and the Pot of Basil
Director: Brian Johnson
Dancers: Jennifer Mcleish-Lewis, Josh Martin
Score: John Korsrud
Showing at The Waldorf Hotel
1489 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V5L 1S4, Canada
For more information, go to http://www.waldorfhotel.com/2011/09/brian-johnson-friday-september-9/