Sha Sha Higby’s work is frequently described as “sculptural costume in motion,” which expresses the physicality -- Higby uses ceramic, metal, wood, gold leaf, silk, paper, and lacquer to create her extraordinary “characters” -- without approaching the tone -- a masked woman suspended in a coral-like latticework, a demigod with plumes of fungus, a sorceress of rattling bones, a dryad of spiderwebs and bramble. Transformation has long been Higby’s calling. As a young girl, she once sewed together 25 petticoats so that a flip of wrist could change her. Today, a single costume takes about two years to develop. As stratums and trimmings are added with each show, Higby figuratively folds her audience into the work, but that exchange is not fast and effortless. Informed by studies of Japanese Noh theater, Butoh dance, and Indonesian shadow puppetry, Higby’s performances are dreamy, meditative, poetic progressions that require the viewer’s presence of mind. The result is beautiful. Higby easily embodies the light of changing seasons, the power of myth, the strength of memory, and the sacred geometry of nature. Folding into a Tempest, Rigby’s latest solo piece, promises to explore themes of life, death, and rebirth, but without narrative, it will leave room for as many interpretations and impressions as there are people.
Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Fri., July 27. Starts: July 21. Continues through July 28, 2012