Kate March’s work of performance art, Nether Space(s), will channel six women’s endometriosis pain experiences. Original poetry, choreography and kinetic paintings by March will challenge the audience to discover resilience in the face of pain. | Credit: Provided

Endometriosis is an underreported, underdiscussed condition that affects an estimated one in 10 women. It often presents as pain accompanying periods, chronic pelvic pain or pain during sex.

Kate March headshot | Credit: Provided

Internationally acclaimed performance artist Kate March aims to bring awareness to endometriosis and women’s pain with her performance art piece Nether Space(s), which she will present on Aug. 19 at the Gibbes Museum of Art.

March’s avant-garde work is movement-based and can be described as boldly feminist and multidisciplinary. In her performance at the Gibbes, March will literally paint with her body on canvas to express pain and resilience as it relates to endometriosis. There will also be a brief panel discussion with women’s health professionals and a post-performance opportunity to speak with the artist.

“My background is all dance related — improvisation, choreography,” March said. “I like to take stories, narratives and feelings and express them in abstract manners using my body.”

To give a sense of March’s practice, one of her most commercially successful performance artworks, An Evening of Meat (performed in London at the Vaults Theatre for a 55-show run in March 2018), features March and her cohort of dancers performing on a dinner table for a closely seated audience, moving expressively on-all-fours to describe vulnerability, strength, power, domestication and wildness — and challenge the male gaze in doing so.

March, who relocated to Charleston in 2020, has been working on Nether Space(s) while in residence at the Gibbes this summer — but it’s the culmination of three years of work towards her thesis for her doctorate degree in performance art at Central Saint Martins in London.

“The Gibbes has been so accommodating with my wild ideas,” she said. “It’s been a luxury, because the thematic content of my work, it’s usually very taboo and hidden. Anything related to women’s bodies is very controversial and provocative, especially anything related to menstruation or gynecological experiences.”

After three years of research and dialogue with five women about their experiences with endometriosis, March will work with six large-scale paintings on canvas during the performance.

The sixth woman represented in the project is March herself, who also struggles from the condition. She said that Nether Space(s) relates to her past work in talking about female bodily experience, but this performance is more explicit than past works in naming endometriosis as a cause of disruption and pain, but also a source of power by moving and living through it.

The performance will include an original score by Marcus Amaker with choreography, poetry and kinetic paintings by March. She hopes folks who attend the Aug. 19 performance at the Gibbes can experience “the passion, the rawness and the visceral experience of the creation of these works,” she said.

“I think it’s going to be an interesting way to spark a dialogue about otherwise hidden experiences that women have to endure.”

Experience Nether Space(s) at the Gibbes Museum from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m Aug. 19. Tickets cost $20 for Gibbes members, $30 for non-members and $10 for students. Visit gibbesmuseum.org.

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