spiritual reflections on art
When the Sun ComesPhoto © by Alex Joseph

When the Sun Comes

Maya Keren’s five-piece band Careful in the Sun is about to embark on its first mini tour, with support from CRS, and I reached out to Maya to learn more about their music and vision, which fuses elements of jazz and pop and draws inspiration from black queer liberation literature.

I first saw them in June 2022 at the M³ Festival, produced by Mutual Mentorship for Musicians. While still an undergrad at Princeton University, Maya (they/them) had participated in M³’s first cohort of duo commission grantees back in the summer of 2020. In this concert, Maya led the band from the piano, and I was struck by their dreamy sound, camaraderie, and joie de vivre onstage. I found myself exhaling, expanding, drawn in and drawn inward. I softened.

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Alix Bailey Reminds Us That Painting Is Light and So Are WePhoto © by Alix Bailey 2022, “Alex and Pink” 42” x 60”

Alix Bailey Reminds Us That Painting Is Light and So Are We

On November 25, 2023 I had the pleasure of attending the closing reception for “Alix Bailey: Recent Paintings” at The Painting Center in Chelsea. The show, her fourth at The Painting Center, consisted mostly of large paintings of one particular model whom Bailey painted repeatedly throughout the years of the pandemic in the indirect light of her home studio.

The gallery indicated that Bailey began bringing only one model into her home during this time in order to limit the possibility for exposure to COVID during the pandemic. I noted that at least one visiter to her exhibition speculated that her work might have suffered from this limitation. However, I believe that Bailey chose to see it as an opportunity. She stated, “One of the rewards of working so closely with the same model over the years is that I come to know them in a way that adds another layer of meaning to the painting. Observing a person over long periods of time, really seeing them is a way of putting them in the light.” As it happened, during this time the model appears to have undergone gender-affirming surgery and, posing nude, allowed Bailey to illustrate the transformation.

But what is even more interesting about these portraits for me — and, I suspect, for Bailey — is not the model’s physical changes but rather Bailey’s ability to evoke the inner light of the model while at the same time capturing the diffuse natural light of her studio and the way that it illuminates everything in the frame.

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M³ Festival Demonstrates the Power of InclusivityPhoto © by Christopher Pelham

M³ Festival Demonstrates the Power of Inclusivity

From Sept 21 – 23, Mutual Mentorship for Musicians (M³) held its 2nd annual M³ Festival at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, NY. The event brought together musicians from around the world from M³’s 3rd and 4th cohorts, many of them meeting and performing together in person for the first time. One of two public events that M³ held this year, the festival provides a platform both for its cohort participants and for the organization itself and its mission.

The 2023 M³ Festival boasted an exceptional roster of 21 M³ cohort artists plus numerous ensemble members, each contributing their unique talents and artistic vision. In the relentless pursuit of balance and diversity, this lineup of composer-performers was thoughtfully curated to embody innovation across genres.

“This year’s festival musicians from M³’s third and fourth cohorts are hands down some of the most groundbreaking composer-performers in the world today, each with a stunning clarity of vision that you’ll rarely if ever find gathered together in one place,” said Shyu. Indeed, the Festival’s many musical collaborations were dizzying in variety and dazzling in quality.

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When My Exile Sees MePhoto © by Christopher Pelham

When My Exile Sees Me

Through music, dance, and conscious exploration, Sita Chay’s “When My Exile Sees Me,” presented May 20, 2023 at Joe’s Pub, creates a loving and accepting space to invite healing and acceptance of all our inner exiled parts.