Britt Lorraine's “Panopticon” Exhibition Formed Over 15 Years, Opens This Weekend

Easily among the most conceptual San Antonio artists working within the realm of dance, Britt Lorraine creates challenging, memorable pieces that have involved lugging gold-leafed sandbags around the McNay Art Museum and performing an interpretation of Ballet Russes’ “Rite of Spring” for eight hours straight. Trained at Southern Methodist University, the University of Iowa and the Martha Graham School, Lorraine often collaborates with her life partner, visual artist Kristy Perez, under the moniker Saintlorraine and earned an Artist Foundation of San Antonio grant for her long-form Rite in 2012.

One of 19 local artists featured in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s current exhibition “Right Here Right Now: San Antonio,” Lorraine’s latest endeavor takes shape in the solo show “Panopticon.” Prefaced by a text French philosopher Michel Foucault penned about the panoptic mechanism — essentially a strategically designed prison complex in which all inmates are visible at all times — the project arose from an image that popped into Lorraine’s head and stuck.

“One day while choreographing, the image of me kneeling before a metronome became present in my mind,” Lorraine writes in her artist’s statement. “I have pondered this image and carried that moment with me for 15 years, knowing that it was the impetus for a work I would someday create.” With this oddly ritualistic image as a guiding light, Lorraine developed a concept that draws parallels between the metronome and the panopticon but also references “critical moments and central figures” in her life via pared-down movements restricted to three gestures. Likened by Lorraine to a “hive” to be revisited and reinterpreted during the show’s six-week run at Sala Diaz, “Panopticon” opens a personal window into Lorraine’s truly original approach to performance, enhanced by a “theatrical backdrop” comprised of research materials, choreographic studies and journal entries.

Free, Sat May 19, 7-10pm (on view through June 23 with additional performances to be announced), Sala Diaz, 517 Stieren St., (210) 972) 900-0047,

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