Gary Coyle: ‘At Sea’ – Chapter Arts Centre, Friday 3rd September
Gary Coyle’s solo performance ‘At Sea’, a culmination of over 10 years spent swimming in the sea every day and photographing and documenting his experiences, is a beautifully presented glimpse into the mind of an artist.
Using photos as visual pointers, Coyle talks through his experiences and motivations in the photographic project which, throughout its course, developed to include writing notes about his swims as well as collecting and bottling the sea water.
A natural public speaker, Coyle is very engaging and easy to listen to and his account includes a lot of humour as well as well-structured tales of particular journeys. His philosophy about performance art is also very insightful; he tells of how he has always hated performance art but somehow became a work of performance art over this epic mission to record his unique experience.
The photographs themselves are stunning – sometimes surprisingly ordinary images are brought to live by the stories recounted in relation; other images need no explanation, many are humorous, some completely mesmerising.
The most interesting aspect of the performance is seeing Coyle recount how absorbed he has become with the experience of daily swims recorded in this way. It’s almost as if he wants it to seem ridiculous but is feeling a deeper commitment to the art than he is prepared to let on.
This is not the sort of performance one encounters every day and is a must if you want to experience a very interesting way to combine several art forms without losing the beauty and greatness of any of them.