Artist Rachel Bunting’s developing work Words from the Bellies of Stars: A Series of Dad Dreams grows out of several images of her father: his smoke creating mid-air paisleys in the sun streaming through gold drapes; his playing of “Taps” at a funeral on a silver trumpet as a young boy; and his inability to shoot and kill a deer because of its eyes. These stories will translate into something new, exploring sustenance, faith, and infinity.
Bunting founded the performance group The Humans in 2002 to support her strong and strange imagination, combining image with motion to contemplate and build mysterious, kinetic, and visual worlds. Building upon her previous work, my my gray sky, A Series of Dad Dreams seeks to transform personal research into compelling and intuitive work.
Sponsorship by High Concept Laboratories will allow Bunting to work with the performers in The Humans to develop and show A Series of Dad Dreams in a Works-In-Progress showing. The project is also supported through a grant by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.
My work has been described as “magic realism.” If we believe that the world is enchanted, and I do, then the fantastic is supported by the real. So, the curious worlds I create are infused with images, animals, and objects and narrative is implied through context: the rub of disparate ideas and the surprising development of character throughout a changeable landscape. I believe in a 4th dimension where our entire lives exist in the same space. Much of my formal interest lies in this this leap of faith. Conceptually and visually, this allows my dances to sometimes (mis)behave like films, collages, or poems.
In the second grade my Dad told me that I could catch a bird by throwing salt on its tail. I tried for more than half a day. In many ways, I am still trying to catch something wild with the ordinary. I just re-read that and thought: or is it catching the ordinary with the wild? Yes, that too. I played with many types of visual arts before I became a 2001 graduate of Columbia College, Chicago. Here, I received a B.A. with a major in dance, but more importantly discovered my instinct for combining image with motion. Along the way, I have danced for several companies, including The Chicago Moving Company, The Seldoms, Lucky Plush, Sheldon Smith, and many other individual artists.
My post-graduate education has come in the form of both formal learning, life and professional experience. I have certifications in Feldenkrais and Kundalini Yoga, and I have taught movement in the Theater Department at Columbia College since 2004. I frequent many types of vocal and movement practices, including butoh, mask, chant and various somatic practices dealing with breath and body.
I have a company named “The Humans.” “The Humans” are housed at Hamlin Park Theater where I have been an Artist-In-Residence since 2004. I am a proud recipient of four, consecutive Illinois Arts Council Awards. In 2007, I was a resident artist at Canal Chapter in NYC, where I spent five weeks creating a movement installation titled, “let’s kill our sadness” which was canopied by raw wool “clouds” and showcased performers with huge, snapping scissors. In 2008, I was handpicked by Susan Marshall to attend a residency at The Atlantic Center for the Arts, where I continued creating who I am (who I am not) which was later performed in NYC at Movement Research and at The A.W.A.R.D. Show! in Chicago.
In 2011, I became a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, which funded my evening-length work, Paper Shoes. The piece served as the genesis of my fascination with an episodic form. Research for this work included several durational installations at Defibrillator and other site-specific performances in Chicago. In 2013, I received grants from The Driehaus Foundation, Met Life New Stages for Dance and a DCASE Individual Artist Grant that allowed my to create my my gray sky, a piece for thirteen performers, spanning ages of seven to 70. Excerpts of this unfinished work were presented by The Chicago Dancemakers Forum in Breakout, at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, by West Town Art Walk, as a part of Out-Of-Site!, a series of site-specific performances, and the work was performed as a part of a shared bill in the 2013 season at The Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago. I am presently at work devising new strategies for dark fruits, deer, death and disco. I have loosely titled this work, A Series of Dad Dreams, and it is a continuation of my my gray sky, perhaps the second part in a diptych of sorts. So far, I have received a multi-year grant from The Driehaus Foundation to continue this play.