A Stretch of the Imagination
By: Elise Hugus, September 5, 2012
ELISE HUGUS - Artist John Cira with his stretchy sculptural installation at the Hyannis Art Center's Guyer Barn. The work is due to come down in an improvised dance performance on Saturday.
Spandex might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning an art installation, but Falmouth sculptor John Cira is, shall we say, flexible.
Used to working with wood, metal or glass, the material's stretchy qualities create an illusion of tension that Cira brings into high relief in his site-specific installation, Yellow Stretch/Red Hook, currently on display at the Hyannis Harbor Arts Center’s Guyer Barn.
“I have a huge respect for spandex,” he said, playing with a stretch of bright yellow fabric that shoots like a sunbeam out of the barn’s paint-splattered floorboards and disappears into a wall.
With the aid of three red hooks—a large grappling hook, a wooden pulley and two fishing hooks— the design brings texture to an otherwise empty space, creating an unbroken symmetry out of a linear material.
“Good spandex stretches twice its length in either direction. It looks really tight, even when it’s not,” says Cira.
A fixture in the Guyer Barn since August 25, the installation is due to come down on Saturday, September 8. Rather than unceremoniously remove the 100 or so yards of bright yellow spandex, grappling hooks and pulleys, Cira has decided to make the work’s deconstruction part of the artistic process. With the help of DeAnna Pellecchia of the Kairos Dance Theater in Boston, the material will again transform in an athletic, improvised dance.
See for yourself!
Yellow Stretch/Red Hook
Site-specific sculptural installion by John CiraOn display at the HyArts Center's Guyer Barn 250 South Street, Hyannis
Summer hours are Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 4 PM. Call 508-790-6370 for more information or visit hyartsdistrict.com/hhac.
Space is limited, but those interested in observing the dance performance takedown on September 8 are invited to call Cira at 508-524-8623 to find out the details.
“The destruction is part of the piece,” Cira says. “Otherwise I’d be taking it down in a humdrum way. Getting a dancer to interpret it continues the art.”
With five spandex-centric installations under his belt—including at the Heritage Museums & Gardens in 2005 and more recently on the grounds of Cape Cod Community College—Cira now boasts that he is a connoisseur of the material, normally associated with athletic gear or tacky Halloween costumes.
He hopes to create one more site-specific spandex piece, ideally in an outdoor location. And while he is open to using different colors and incorporating dance or light and shadow play in the installation, he says one thing he will never do with spandex is wear it.
About the artists
Cira is an art dealer based in Falmouth and works in two- and three-dimensional media at the Old Schoolhouse Studios in Barnstable. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications and fine arts from John Carroll University in Cleveland and is a postgraduate in sculpture from the Instituto des Artes Plasticas Unidad Independencia in Mexico City, and design at Rhode Island School of Design.
Co-founder of the Kairos Dance Theater and on the faculty of Boston University’s dance department, Pellecchia is a principal dancer with the internationally acclaimed Paula Josa-Jones Performance Works. Employing rich visual imagery to create an emotionally powerful physical landscape, her choreographic style is inspired by a diverse movement background, blending free-wheeling turns and leaps with sudden inversions, extreme suspended shapes, rhythmic isolations, quirky gestures and intricate footwork.
The Hyannis Harbor Arts Center is a showcase for emerging and established artists in a variety of genres. It is a community art space, a working artist studio and a professional artist gallery that supports and promotes the arts through instruction, events, exhibits and performances.