Performance: Tara Khozein & Rhonda Taylor

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The gallery will ask for a sliding scale donation of $5-$25 in support of the artists.

When it comes to musical genres, Tara Khozein and Rhonda Taylor hold nothing sacred. “When you start getting into nitty gritty definitions, it just gets so messy,” says Khozein. “I’m a big fan of the metal solution to this problem, which is just thousands of subgenres. Every band has their own genre.” That could certainly be true of Khozein and Taylor’s latest collaboration. Their two-part improvisational performance, taking place in Las Cruces and Santa Fe, alchemically melds instrumentals, vocals and gestures. Until a new genre is born, it can only be described as daringly contemporary. THE TARA AND RHONDA SHOW! Fully Clothed and Highly Introverted begins with a December 8 performance at Doña Ana Arts Council in Las Cruces, and continues at form & concept in Santa Fe on December 16 at 7 pm.

TONIGHT: THE TARA & RHONDA SHOW!

Soprano Tara Khozein- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

THE TARA & RHONDA SHOW! Fully Clothed and Highly Introverted makes its Santa Fe debut at form & concept tonight. Come to the gallery at 7 pm for an evening of improvisational performance with New Mexico musicians Tara Khozein and Rhonda Taylor. Make sure to bring a $5-$25 donation in support of the artists.

Khozein and Taylor have performed together once before, for the one-night sound exhibition Lyric Concrete at Radical Abacus in 2015. Here’s an excerpt from Alex De Vore’s write-up on the event for Santa Fe Reporter:

“Often in contemporary classical, it’ll just say that it’s for ‘voice’ or ‘female voice,’ and these newer compositions will focus on what they call extended techniques or mumbles and grumbles or things you could say that metal vocalists have been doing for years,” Khozein says, displaying her self-described crazy eyes. “I’ve been trying not to use the word ‘weird’ to describe this music, because that just seems a little apologetic.”

[…] Let’s get down to brass tacks here, you guys. What is the overall selling point, especially in a town where everyone hates what they don’t know? The selling point is that it’s important to experience some things that exist outside the norm. And while McKissick and Khozein readily admit that Lyric Concrete won’t be for everyone, they’ve both promised a tangible emotional response to the performances.

The same goes for Khozein and Taylor’s daring performance at form & concept tonight! Come hear how both artists have evolved since their last collaboration, and support performing arts in Santa Fe.

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The Tara and Rhonda Show!

 

When it comes to musical genres, Tara Khozein and Rhonda Taylor hold nothing sacred. “When you start getting into nitty gritty definitions, it just gets so messy,” says Khozein. “I’m a big fan of the metal solution to this problem, which is just thousands of subgenres. Every band has their own genre.” That could certainly be true of Khozein and Taylor’s latest collaboration. Their improvisational performance alchemically melds instrumentals, vocals and gestures. Until a new genre is born, it can only be described as daringly contemporary. Khozein and Taylor present THE TARA AND RHONDA SHOW! Fully Clothed and Highly Introverted at form & concept this Saturday from 7 to 8:30 pm.

Khozein is a soprano, actor, director and theatre-maker living in Santa Fe. Taylor is a renowned saxophonist, and the College Associate Professor of Saxophone and Music Theory at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces. They met in 2006 when Taylor was Khozein’s professor at NMSU, and quickly found a creative connection. In 2015, they appeared together for the first time as part of the Lyric Concrete performance series at Radical Abacus in Santa Fe. They conceived of THE TARA AND RHONDA SHOW! as kitschy and approachable, but also a serious extension of their individual work with improvisational performance.

Tara Khozein performs at Meow Wolf- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico

“Rhonda is thinking a lot about storytelling, and weaving overlapping storylines into a work,” says Khozein. “I’m working with physical gesture, and how gesture can lead sound.” Each artist will write a score for the performance, taking cues from the innovative work of American composer Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016). “Oliveros would write descriptions and rules, and sometimes make graphic representations for the piece. The performers then improvise within those parameters,” Khozein explains. “We’re taking that as a cue for writing these different pieces, but the content will of course be ours.”

Khozein and Taylor will present versions of THE TARA AND RHONDA SHOW! in both of their home cities. Each performance will be based on the same scores, but will inevitably be different due to their improvisational nature. “We’re excited to help bridge the creative communities of Las Cruces and Santa Fe by hosting this performance,” says Frank Rose, gallery director at form & concept. “It will also be interesting to see how the events differ, based on Tara and Rhonda’s organic reactions to the two settings.”

For the show at form & concept, Khozein and Taylor will perform among the artworks of Thais Mather’s solo exhibition Reckless Abandon in the gallery’s atrium. “We’ll be reacting to each other, but also to the space and art,” says Khozein. “I don’t see how we couldn’t.”

The venues will accept a sliding scale donation of $5-$25 in support of the artists.

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Reckless Abandon’s Evolution.

Thais Mather- 200,000- Reckless Abandon Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, 200,000, stoneware, 3 x 3 in. each.

Thais Mather’s Reckless Abandon is not an exhibition that you would call “on view,” in a passive sense. In fact, it’s a show that views you in many cases. It unfolds and evolves, pulling viewers and other artists into its orbit in compelling ways. For example, gallery visitors are free to interact with the ceramic masks in Mather’s installation 200,000During the opening reception, there were audible gasps in the crowd as people reached across the platform and plucked faces from the vast field of sculptures. If a visitor decided to acquire a mask, they were allowed to take it with them that evening, leaving a gap in the grid. In this sense, the arrangement of artworks in Reckless Abandon has changed every day since it debuted late last month.

The exhibition will transform yet again on Friday, December 15, when Mather unites feminist and activist artists for a series of performances among the artworks. Todd Ryan White, David Mcmaster, Tim Reed, Ekalos Reed and Niomi Fawn will each add their artistic voices to the show. “I feel like the concept of the male genius artist presenting his solo magnum opus is a Greenbergian farce,” Mather explains. “Everything you create is influenced by other artists, by your mentors, by your relationships, by the music and literature you adore.”

Thais Mather- Thaumaturge- Reckless Abandon Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, Thaumaturge (detail), shou sugi ban, 16 x 21 x 8 in.

This new paradigm could also redefine the role of the storytellers who have reflected on Reckless Abandon since its opening. Perhaps they too should be considered collaborators, directing channels of the show’s conceptual river in fresh directions. In her review of Reckless Abandon for Pasatiempo, Iris McLister analyzed the show’s sweeping scale and individualized impact:

Feminist and universal, political and primitive, ancient and hyper-contemporary. Alchemical. These are just a handful of words that aptly describe artist Thais Mather’s exhibition Reckless Abandon, now on view at Form & Concept. Though the entirety of the gallery’s cavernous downstairs is filled with her work, the art’s intentionality never seems compromised by its quantity. During a recent tour of the show, Mather said, “I want to make art that will last. It feels really important to me to have the discipline to make things that endure.”

Comprising sculpture, drawing, video art, printmaking, and more, Reckless Abandon could feel sprawling, but instead it’s immersive and intimate. Describing a central theme for the show, Mather wrote in her artist statement, “I’m really contemplating humanity: how culture began, where we are now, and where that might evolve.”

McLister also touched on the show’s highly collaborative ethos:

Mather is transparent about relying on the knowledge and help of others in making this show a reality. Friends and peers, including local artists Sandra Wang, Ron Pokrasso, and Chris Collins, were instrumental in helping Mather learn and execute new techniques. This must partially inform why she doesn’t like what she has called the “farce of the solo show.” For her, the experience of art — whether making it or viewing it — is most rewarding when it’s collaborative in nature.

Thais Mather- My Own Two Eyes- Reckless Abandon Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, My Own Two Eyes (detail), porcelain, 1 x 1 in. each.

Mather spoke with John Shannon of KSFR about the importance of empowering her audience:

I’m trying really hard… to not give too much information, because I really think that what viewers perceive in the work is a really valuable asset to the work itself. The one thing that I will say about it is that I deeply researched feminism, and that’s where my background comes from in terms of the theoretical aspect of what I’m interested in.

Kathryn Davis also interviewed Thais, for THE Magazine‘s online feature about Reckless Abandon. She talked about her hopes for the ultimate impact of her work:

 I find social change important in work, trying to change and challenge my audience and myself… We are learning, we are failing, and sometimes we get it right. Mostly I hope we can think about the rest of the world—not just humanity, but the planet. 200,000 years is a short time within a four-billion-year-old process. I just keep looking and asking, and knowing very little in return. It feels good, so I just keep doing it.

On a similar note, Eliza Lutz of Matron Records talked about the show’s ability to inspire across mediums and disciplines in the record label’s December newsletter:

Though Matron Records is clearly an entity with music front and center, we are constantly exploring the many ties between various disciplines and perspectives, ranging in everything from sound and design to performance art and printmaking to storytelling and feminism. Reckless Abandon, the multi-discipline exhibition by Mather featuring hundreds of artworks, navigates the space between these ideas, dismantling traditional & patriarchal art narratives to create a show that re-imagines human history and what it might become.

[…]

Given the current political climate, with a recent resurgence of the #MeToo campaign setting the tone for a radical cultural shift in many male-dominated fields, Reckless Abandon could not come at a better time. The immense body of work and interconnected series of performances and events tackle the full weight of the past and present while still offering a magic and radical vision for the future. “I think people are getting these catastrophic feelings, that this is the end,” says Thais Mather. “I don’t believe in that. I think this is a beginning.”

Join us for Reckless Abandon: Performance this Friday, and return on Saturday for an improvisational performance by Tara Khozein and Rhonda Taylor in the exhibition.

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Thais Mather- Mine and Thine- Reckless Abandon Show- Form and Concept Gallery- Santa Fe New Mexico
Thais Mather, Mine and Thine, shou sugi ban, 20 x 63 x 10 in.