Can you see the brushstrokes in their movements?
Can you see the brushstrokes in their movements? Youtube Screenshot
As museums remain closed for the time being, many winter exhibitions across the city will go relatively unseen. One such show is City of Tomorrow: Jinny Wright and the Art That Shaped a New Seattle at the Seattle Art Museum, based on the late local collector's prolific stash of contemporary art.

In a pivot, the SAM asked Seattle-based contemporary dancers—Michele Dooley, Nia-Amina Minor, and Amanda Morgan—to reinterpret Franz Kline's "Cross Section" which appears in City of Tomorrow. Kline is heavily associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement, part of a class of action painters that include Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, and the like.

To me, what's so exciting about this two-minute-long film is that it really underscores the sense of movement in the original painting. Often, I feel a bit silly when describing motion in an inherently static piece, yet it's there. The way one black brushstroke runs up then sharply turns left. Or how that black line swooshes across the bottom of the piece, or how the crinkly fast strokes flit over all the white spaces of the painting.

Dressed in black against a stark white backdrop, these three dancers gracefully embody the broad action and unexpected turns of Kline's piece. It's all twirls and outstretched arms. In particular, I love the frame above where the crook of Dooley's elbow and bent hips capture the left side of the painting, while the verticality of Minor's body captures the right. It's a dynamic and fun reinterpretation of work that brings new life to Kline's black and white original.

Check out more on the painting here, and watch the short video for yourself down below. The video is silent, so if you need some backing music, I have a suggestion:

The painting being referenced.
The painting referenced. Courtesy of SAM/Paul Macapia