Pat Graney

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2013

Seattle, WA

Founder of the Pat Graney Dance Company in 1991, choreographer Pat Graney creates work that features a diverse set of movement vocabularies that range from ballet to gymnastics to martial arts; explorations of female identity and power; and rich visuals. For example, The Vivian Girls (2004) was based on the work of "outsider" artist Henry Darger; and House of Mind (2008), a work in multiple media (installation, sculpture, video, and choreographed performances), transformed a 5,000 square-foot raw space. In 1991, she began creating a body of work related to women with Faith (1991), Sleep (1995), and Tattoo (2001)—this triptych was re-mounted in 2010 at On the Boards. As a long-time Seattle resident, Graney and her company have undertaken community initiatives like working with incarcerated women though Keeping the Faith/The Prison Project, and more recently working with teens who have been trafficked in the Seattle school system. Among her many honors, Graney is an Alpert Award in the Arts (2008) and USA Fellowship (2008) recipient. Her upcoming work for 2015, girl gods, explores the sacrifice of the female in contemporary culture.

  • Pat Graney- House of Mind (2008):
    House of Mind (2008)
  • Pat Graney- Tattoo (2001, performed in 2010):
    Tattoo (2001, performed in 2010)
  • Pat Graney- Faith (1991, performed in 2010):
    Faith (1991, performed in 2010)
  • House of Mind (2008)

Suppose you just met someone who didn't know your work, what project from the past 10 years would you direct them to as an entry point to you and your work, and why?

If someone were viewing my work for the first time, I think I would first suggest that they view the hour-long work Faith, as it started me on a path of exploring the depths of an idea that reached a wide audience. I remember when we first toured this work in 1991; people sent me letters and photos and pieces of artwork and beautifully made cards. I think people had an overall visceral and emotional response that deeply touched them and they needed to communicate that experience to me. I was completely overwhelmed by their response. Faith became the first in a Triptych of works that included Sleep (1995) and Tattoo (2001), spanning a ten-year period. Overall, the Triptych is about women in contemporary culture; how we are viewed and how we view ourselves. As a sequel to Faith, I would recommend House of Mind (2008) from the past 10 years, which is memory created in the environment of a house. House of Mind is the fully matured idea of Faith, made visceral in the context of both installation and performance.