Since 1980, the Mountain Lake Workshop has invited internationally-known artists to collaborate with fellow artists, students, and community residents of Southwest Virginia in the creation of experimental works of art.
Located in Giles County, Virginia, and supported in part by Virginia Tech, the Mountain Lake Workshop project has focused on facilitating community-based art collaborations that engage aspects of contemporary art, Appalachian culture, and social and technological trans-disciplinary planning sessions. Guest artists have for decades brought together the arts and sciences as a way to feed an unexpected and dynamic creative process, resulting in experimental artworks that push the boundaries of art, dance, performance, and theater.
This exhibition features six large-scale installation works created between 1994 and 2012 by five artists, including three diverse renditions of John Cage's STEPS: A Composition for a Painting to be Performed by Individuals and Groups, where each artist, from the famed abstract painted Dorothea Rockburne to dancer Merce Cunningham, moved paint across paper on the floor to create stunning large-scale expressive works that are over 40 feet long. Additional works on view are photographic collaborations between Jessie Mann and Liz Liguori, and pieces by Joe Kelley (Appalachian Trail Frieze) and Jiro Okura.
Curated by Mountain Lake Workshop founder Ray Kass, the presentation is a unique opportunity to encounter monumental artwork that are testaments to the creative possibilities when artists create works hand-in-hand with others, inspired by shared experiences and a place that is uniquely Southwest Virginia.
Merce Cunningham and the Repertory Understudy Dance Group with the Mountain Lake Workshop, Dancers II, 2008, a performance of John Cage's "STEPS" (1989) A Composition for a Painting, 141 x 360 inches, water media on rag paper.