Painter, Cellist and Video Production Company Create Postmodern Dreamscape

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Pictured: Natalie Helm, cellist. Photo courtesy of Storyvox.

What do you get when you take Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 to the beach, interpret the beach umbrellas staked into the sand through a painter’s eye, then refract those umbrellas through a kaleidoscope of projectors and floor-to-ceiling screens? On February 18th and 19th, a small number of Sarasota art lovers will attempt to answer that impossible question as a collaboration of creatives in their prime yields B(e)ACH DAY.

The creatives in question are painter and Ringling College chief curator Tim Jaeger, Sarasota Orchestra principal cellist Natalie Helm, and a committee of video production tech wizards from Storyvox. Together, the three parties created an immersive exhibition of sights and sounds that blend classic forms into a postmodern dreamscape.

“I’ve really enjoyed my Beach Umbrella series and it’s been very well received,” says Jaeger of his colorful expressionist seaside scenes, “but I wanted to see what else I could do with it.” To that end, Jaeger crossed paths with another artist from another medium on a similar quest for new pastures. That artist was cellist Natalie Helm.

During the pandemic, Helm began toiling away at home in an attempt to level up her already impeccable technique. Along the way, she too asked herself what else she could do from a performance aspect. “Bach’s six cello suites are something every cellist wants to accomplish,” says Helm, “and I decided during quarantine that this was the season for that, and I knew I wanted to collaborate with a different artist on each suite.” Her Bach Immersion series of events have already yielded some fruitful collaboration with Sarasota Contemporary Dance, where a bit of theatre, dance and artifice gave her first Bach suites a unique context. But B(e)ACH DAY takes the context to a whole new level.

The glue that holds the whole collaboration together is the visual wizardy of Storyvox. Known for their cinematic, brand-centric video production work that borders on documentary filmmaking, the outfit has been using its “extended reality” studios in the Rosemary District to flex their own creativity with projection mapping and other tech magic. Using Jaeger’s paintings as their primary ingredient, Storyvox will project pieces of his Beach Umbrella series onto several beach umbrellas staked into actual sand, while a massive 10-ft tall screen will show animations of the paintings synced to the cello suite.

“I’ve been trying to explain it to close colleagues for months now and it’s still hard to put into words,” says Jaeger. “But I was really inspired by the Van Gogh Experience (which is also coming to Sarasota in March) and wanted to see if there were artists here that could do something on that scale conceptually. This is more intimate, but I hope it’s a really inspiring experience for people.”

The two nights of performances will take place at Storyvox’s XR Studio at 1490 Boulevard of the Arts in the Rosemary District on February 18th and 19th from 7-9pm. While free, the studio only supports limited numbers to maximize the experience for those in attendance as well as ensure safety.

Pictured: Natalie Helm, cellist. Photo courtesy of Storyvox.

Click here to view teaser.

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