by Laurie Crosswell
On the eve of Independence Day, the freedom of expression will be celebrated at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center in downtown Asheville with the presentation of in the arm of flowers, an interdisciplinary performance by Megan Ransmeier, from Asheville, and New Mexico-based artist Julia Rich.
According to the press release, “two women inhabit a mythic landscape of sand and ice, inviting inclusive spectrums of connection through voice, body, and object relations.” Living in different states, multidisciplinary artists Ransmeier and Rich worked via Skype for several months in preparation, but not even distance could diminish the creative strength of their artistic duet. Having kept in touch since college, “We each find support and inspiration from one another’s art practices and processes as humans,” says Ransmeier.
The name of the performance was a collaborative effort, as well. “Meg sent me the song ‘After Laughter Comes Tears,’ by Wendy Rene,” says Rich. “There’s a line, ‘When you’re in an arm, you gaze.’” After an herbalist told Rich that flowers don’t judge the emotions, the title was born.
“The resonance we find as collaborators creates an arm for ourselves to grow from,” says Rich. “We wish to share this with others in the performance — finding a home to feel all of the feelings, and to hear what they wish to tell us.”
Black Mountain College proved the ideal venue for this type of collaboration. “I have performed and shown films at the BMCM+AC previously and have always felt that my works were at home in conversation with the Black Mountain College lineage,” says Ransmeier. “It seems that Asheville, like any place, cultivates the artistic spirit in as many ways as there are spirits. I was born and raised here and receive a deep sense of support and connection from the familiar landscape and energies of this area.”
The audience can expect to become a part of the creative process simply by being present. The performance of in the arm of flowers might create ripples of awareness through its collection of movements, chosen objects and vocalizations, Rich says. Citing the audience as a key influence in their performance, Ransmeier and Rich want to engage rather than alienate in hopes of creating an innately personal, lasting effect with their art.
“A gesture or a moment in in the arm of flowers will stick with an audience member for reasons they may not understand,” says Rich. “Perhaps days, weeks or even years later, something will happen in their lives that helps illuminate why that particular moment struck them.”
WHO: Megan Ransmeier and Julia Rich present in the arm of flowers
WHERE: Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, blackmountaincollege.org
WHEN: Friday, July 3, 8 p.m. $10 general/$8 BMCM+AC members and students