Back in the Swingin’ Sixties, performance art was something done by envelope pushers like Yoko Ono or Andy Warhol. These occasions tended to involve a medium of some sort and interaction with an audience. They were often political and always provocative.
Recently, a new form of performance art has emerged. This is embodied by the hugely successful Alton Brown Live! Show in which the Food Network star combines stand-up comedy, music, and cooking demos.
In Southwest Florida, another variation on performance art is being developed.
Leoma Lovegrove has been doing her Painting Out Loud performances for several years. Lately though, she has been tweaking the formula. Oh, she still turns out an original work of art on a semi-prepared canvas in mere minutes to a personal mixtape of music that relates to her theme.
But now, she has added raconteur to her list of talents. Leoma invites whatever audience she’s in front of into her studio and into her life. Displaying painted clothes and shoes and a variety of random objects, she tells the stories of what they mean to her or how she came to create them. And what stories they are: her visit to the White House, how she painted on a replica of Monet’s floating studio in France, how she organized a community-wide event to commemorate those who died on 9-11.
At a recent ladies’ luncheon, some 200 women, many wearing Beall’s clothing with Leoma’s colorful designs, laughed and hooted and jumped to their feet applauding wildly when her show was over.
Leoma seems as energized by the audience as they are by her. Who knows where that energy may take her next?