Jonathan VanDyke – Stranger Suite

Fire Island Pines / July 2014

NYPAC, the New York Performance Artists Collective, is excited to present Stranger Suite, three interrelated, durational performances by Jonathan VanDyke. Stranger Suite is the second work in this summer’s I <3 Fire Island performance series. 

Stranger Suite revolves around a charged notion of “looking.” It takes its title from the Albert Camus novel The Stranger, which features a protagonist increasingly alienated from society. The works transpose this existential framework onto Fire Island settings like the beach and the Meat Rack, inflecting the term “looking” not only with homosexual desire, but more symbolically with searching – both for oneself and for others – calling out, finding a path, losing track, making contact. Sites are marked literally with glances, wandering figures and accumulated paint, which oozes from a totemic sculpture, a woman’s purse, and the costumes of two dancers as they engage each other in both tender and rough physical play.

Stranger Suite is variously performed by VanDyke, David Rafael Botana, Bradley Teal Ellis, and Laryssa Husiak, who have been collaborating with the artist for several years. Each intervention employs paint to symbolize something spreadable, like a virus, or something highly charged, like sexuality itself. The medium marks both time and space before succumbing to the elements. Stranger Suite is a continuation of VanDyke’s longstanding interest in painting as a performative and relational medium, where he casts painterly abstraction in queer, bodily terms.

Figure of a Stranger, Saturday, July 19th, 4:00-9:00pm, Harbor Walk Beach (VanDyke). For Figure of a Stranger, VanDyke stands in the sand for five hours, located just beneath a structure that constantly drips paint down his back. He gazes out at the horizon as stains of color grow across his torso and paint collects upon his clothes. He bears witness to passersby, indexing them in silence.

Wild Combination, Saturday, July 19th, 4:30-7:30 pm, Harbor Walk Beach (Botana and Ellis). In Wild Combination, two men encounter one another on a rectangle of canvas laid out in the sand. For three hours they perform a physically rigorous game of contact. Their positions with one another shift rapidly – at times they are interlocked in intimacy while at other moments they face off in conflict. Paint seeps from their costumes, tagging one another’s bodies and marking the canvas below.

Self Portrait as My Mother, as an Actress, as a Prostitute, as a Painter, as a Stranger, Monday, July 21st, 2:00-5:00pm, various locations in the Meat Rack and beach (Husiak). A woman emerges from the forest and wanders along the beach, her face made up as if for the evening. She carries a large purse from which paint is dripping, leaving a trail of drops of color that accumulate in the sand and are covered by the wind.

Stranger Suite was made possible with the generous support of Morty Newburgh and Michael Crisafulli.

← Back to list