Monday, May 26, 2014

Downtown photo op circuit: skateable sculpture, rideable chicken and performable frame called Portal

Exploring the historic Texas Ave area has more possibilities with the advent of an Alan Dyson installation called Portal. It is a stage-like structure dominated by a large (16' tall) black wooden proscenium frame.

Recently installed, "It's a platform for artists to interact with," explains Dyson. Tightly constructed by Lawhon Myers Builders, it is located in Shreveport Common near 836 Texas Ave. It's on the open area to be developed as Caddo Park.

"My influences are Richard Serra and James Turrell," said Dyson, who is a successful designer (Shoppes at Bellemead, Ristorante Giuseppe,etc) as well as musician (Planet Unity Orchestra, "Louisiana Jive," etc) and visual artist ("Tablet," East Bank Gallery, 2013).

"Portal was intended for the downtown Oakland Cemetery, but the 'Friends of the Oakland Cemetery', felt that the structural requirements could result in the disturbance of remains. The final location was determined by negotiation with SRAC. SPAR is interested in relocating the piece to a city park after the year-long tenure in the common is complete," added Dyson.

"We used the black background of Portal as a backdrop for photographing our Softie ladies, a doll-size series," said Kathryn Usher. "It turned out well. I think Portal can be useful but the challenge is that the population in Shreveport Common is so light. But photographers and videographers should enjoy using it. Maybe someone making a La Film Prize movie will use it."

Dyson hopes it will be used by poets, visual artists and others as a frame for their work.

Visitors to the Calanthean Canyon musical houses, open weekends (Sat, May 31, 7 pm, free performance by Twang Darkly), will find that Portal and the Steve Olson skateboard sculpture are nearby and are cool spots for snaps. "The challenge for both Portal and the skate sculpture," believes Usher, "is that they're pretty big. They're not the right size for selfies."

Texas Ave Community Association's Dan Keele says, "Portal is a viewfinder for things to come; it's a focal point for future stagings and presentations."

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