by Brian Hartley | stillmotion

Brian Hartley is a Glasgow based artist whose work is a combination of visual art, photography and design. Integrating these skills with his experience as a physical performer, Brian creates multi disciplinary performance events through his company stillmotion, including We Dance. Wee groove, an interactive dance performance for families and young children, which has been touring internationally since 2008.

As a visual artist he has been making drawings and paintings inspired by dance for many years, working with dance festivals and featuring in exhibitions in Uk and internationally. In recent years this eye for capturing dance and movement has diversified into dance photography and multimedia work, working with many contemporary dance companies on Scotland.

I have really enjoyed taking part in the creative sessions on Collectivity and Identity – CID Project at Poplar Union, with Danielle and her team of experienced dancers, musicians, and a filmmaker and photographer. The dancers and participants with Parkinson’s have brought a focus and investment in the work, sharing food, cups of tea together and conversation around the movement work, its feelings, perceptions and reflections, embedding a reflective practice in the work, and offering each of us a vital reflection into how this important this work is, how dance can affect, challenge and move us emotionally.

Danielle’s invitation was to reflect on the dance activities through my visual arts practice, we had met at a community dance conference in Glasgow in 2017, and after developing my dance photography work over the past few years it was a refreshing opportunity to return to using more hand made materials and ways of seeing and representing movement, and having the beautiful photography work by Sara Hibbert I felt free to experiment with a more expressive way of working and focused most on using ink and brushes on a range of paper stock.

During the CID Project I explored a variety of techniques and introduced chance and unpredictability to the work through watercolour effects, creating pools of ink, smudges, fading lines and forms blurring into one another. Conversations with the dancers offered a further resonance, introducing thoughts about language, allowing the images of dancers to become hybrid forms, resembling handwriting, a score, or trace of movement on the paper. I hope that these works portray the choreography in a way that is more individual, vulnerable, precious, and also full of presence and intention.