Colour & Music Links

Colour & Music Blog

Horse Hospital Performance/ Newcastle University.

This Collaborative Performances took place at the Horse Hospital and formed the second part of an evening exploring visual music. In the first half, Cindy Keefer (director of the Centre of visual Music ) introduced a series films (some rare) by filmakers such as Oskar Fischinger and Jordan Belsen. In the second half we explored this theme further with a visceral performance of performance painting on translucent cellophane with sound from Professors Roger Redgate and  Matt Wright (Goldsmiths and Canterbury) and regular collaborator Portia Winters singing. It was an exciting and intense performance.Performance Painting, Centre for Visual Music Salon Performance

Center for Visual Music Salon

Center for Visual Music Salon

Live Painting with Light Performance

Centre for Visual Music Salon (Film Still)

Performance Painting

Centre for Visual Music Salon 10/16

Performance Painting with Light

Performance Painting (Film Still)

Centre for Visual Music Salon (10/16)

Performance Painting in Light

March 2017. Film Stills by Haavard Helle

POSTED: 03/9/17 2:01 PM

House Of St Barnabas (Performance Stills)

This performance came about from when I saw Cleveland at the meltdown festival some years ago performing a re envsioning of John Coltrane’s Love Supreme. His solo was incredible, and like other moments when I have heard music that I can see so clearly, I went about making contact to see if I could work with him. Luckily we connected and understood what each other were doing. I would love to work with him again. This performance was in the lovely chapel at the House of St Barnabas in Soho, London.

I wrapped the inside of the chapel (Christo like) in Cellophane , so that it appeared that the colour was happening all around him spatially. It was dramatic and looked and sounded great. The palette constantly changed with Cleveland’s versatility of colour and texture. However, I used white a lot, which seemed to reflect the purple light, and also worked as a kind of unspoken script casting a shadow against the lights. The performance was completely improvised, but I had set the space up so that I could surround the audience, and create a feeling of informality (slightly ruined by the seating arrangement, just prior to the performance) . I also invlolved my own body within the performance, painting myself, and also using two miked up canvas’s to provide sound. I have since been looking at the exciting work of Donna Huanca who uses the body with paint as a kind of skin within installations, which resonates with what I was trying to achieve within this performance.

Painting Performance with Cleveland Watkiss (Film Still)

Film Still of Performance with Cleveland Watkiss

Performance Painting (Film Still)

Performance Painting with Cleveland Watkiss

Film Still of Painting Performance with Cleveland Watkiss

Painting Performance (Film Still)

Painting Performance with Cleveland Watkiss

Singing Colour Performance with Cleveland Watkiss (Film Still)

Painting with Cleveland

Cleveland Watkiss Singing Colour

March 2017. Film Stills by Haavard Helle.

POSTED: 03/9/17 1:38 PM

“Correspondences” Performance. 15th December 2016.

Performance Painting at South Bank

Performance Painting at South Bank

Next Week I shall be Painting in a Collaborative Performance with Professor Roger Redgate and Dr Emmanuel Lorien  Spinelli and singer Portia Winters on Thursday 15th December (1pm) at Kings Hall, Newcastle University.

POSTED: 12/7/16 1:11 PM

Singing Colour, Action and Performance.

In my most recent collaborative Painting performances  interventions and actions I  have been utilising both moving light and transparent materials, such as  celaphane and polyeurathene which is  transparent, immersive and disposable, and discarded at the end of the performance. Initially I used these materials for their sound, as a  means for percussion (miked up on occasions) and I was thinking visually also of some of the history of paint in performance and in particular the Gutai artists work, and pioneers like Hermann Nitsch , some of the Vienna Actionists work and of course Carolee Schneeman’s  , where  gestural abstraction becomes interwoven with the body, movement and material. Painting becomes both spatial and durational. This fascinating history contains strong and fundamental links with sound and music too. Hermann Nitsch uses his own  music. Carollee Schneeman’s work I feel has a deep connection with music and some of my favourite work of her’s features collaborations with the composer James Tenney. More Recently I have also been looking at the work of Jean Debuffet and Asager Jorn’s fascinating collaboration and their uniquely transformative experiments with sound.

Performance with Singer Cleveland Watkiss

Singing Colour Collaborative Performance

Singing Colour

Collaborative Performance with Singer Cleveland Watkiss

It is this transformative and yet ephemeral quality of painting which continues to form a large part of performances. I  am less interested in the historical arguments which continue revolving around abstraction but rather I am engaged in it’s continued fluidity, its continued influence on society and media and it’s sensory nature, it’s  visceral power and ability via collaborative performance and action to transform experiences. Working with paint and with moving light, explores this further.

More recently I have been filming actions, which further a painterly dialogue but via Objects and places and are memory based,  being poetic and sensory  in nature. I will be disseminating this over the coming months and then showing this new body of work. A new film can be seen on the front page of this website featuring an ongoing collaboration with Norwegian filmaker Haavard Helle and composer Mira Calix. It is the beginning of some exciting work to come.

December 2016

Listning to:

Aphex Twin- Cheetah

Epicoytl- Portia Winters

Vijay Iyer /Wadada Leo Smith- A Cosmic Rhythmn with Each Stroke.

Roger Redgate and Matt Wright- Single Combat.


Samuel Beckett: Collected Poems.

Bernard O Donoghue: Cullen Church.

POSTED: 12/2/16 2:58 PM

“Live, Light Performance Painting.”

In a few weeks time I am embarking some exciting collaborative and intimate performances in London, Oxford and Newcastle. Some of these will be an exciting  collaboration with the Centre of Visual Music on some Salon evenings . These performances will focus on light and the ephemeral quality of paint, and the capturing of time and resonate with the collection of films being shown, including a rare film by Jordan Belson.

Paint, coloured light and Shadow

Performance Light Painting

Performance in Coloured Light

Electro Party Performance

Painting Performance in Coloured Light

Live Light Painting

My recent performances have  concentrated upon the voice together with painting, and upon the raw visceral vulnerability and the element of power created through this. A while ago now I met the Philosopher and writer Jonathan Ree who wrote a great book while ago now called “I See a Voice” which looked at the many layered phenomenon of the voice. It is a great book and I have been re reading this in connection with this upcoming work. There have been some great exhibitions of late, my personal favourite lately being a showing at the Barbican of Ragnar Kjartansson who  heroically navigated a dodgy connection Skype talk with Carollee Schneeman I experienced at a showing of her work in Reykjavik of which I was involved with last year.


Carollee Schneeman- Kinetic Painting.

Wallace Stevens-Collected Poetry.

Hans Ulrich Obrist – A Brief History of New Music.

Jonathan Ree- I See a Voice.

Listning to:

Cleveland Watkiss. All material.

Sonny Sharrock- Black Woman

Shabaka and the Ancestors- Wisdom of The Elders.

Mark Clive de Lowe- Blue Note remix.

Quantic-Flowering Inferno.

Portia Winters-Epicotyl

POSTED: 09/23/16 4:46 PM

Real Time Sensory Art Performance in Iceland.

I recently staged a performance as part of the Sequences (Real Time Art) Festival in Reykjavik in Iceland . Here are some stills from a forthcoming film by Haarvard Helle of that performance, in which I used blue on a white background , a reversal of another performance for film which used blue on Black and featured a black cube (a recurring theme featuring in my new work) . The whole site specific performance was a meditation on time and the act of painting as a form of excersise and movement and perhaps an act of devotion within the moment.

Dripping Blue Paint.

Dripping Blue Paint in Iceland

There seemed to be a certain potency with the intervention within the incredible Icelandic landscape and hoping to perform there again soon. When I saw the space that I was to perform in, I assumed it would be freezing, and prepared myself for the worst, however when I opened the door to the building it was pumping warm, heated naturally and geothermally via large heated pipes underground. The only props I had was Paint, a miked up Canvas and a wall behind, the sounds of paint occasionally surreally interspersed by clicking tyres of cars passing by with snow tyres.

Recently, I have recently been listening to the wonderful 18 Microtonal Ragas by John Cage by the Dhrupad and experimental singer Amelia Cuni which I find very visual and am working visually with some of these pieces at the moment. A few Years ago now I performed with the Hindustani singer and writer Amit Chaudhuri and I am continuing re reading and layering the work that I did in that 2 hour performance. John Cage created some beautiful art too, and I was pleased to find that there is now a John Cage page dedicated to his art

June 2015

Listning to- Kamasi Washington – The Epic.

Kendrick Lamar-To Pimp a Butterfly.

Vijay Iyer- Break Stuff.

Andrea Keller-Wave Rider.

Blue on White Performance Painting in Iceland

Blue on White Performance Painting

Performance Film Still

Performance Film Still

Pouring/Painting Performance

Pouring/Painting Performance

Paint Performance

Paint Performance

Performance Painting In Iceland

Performance/Film Still.

POSTED: 06/2/15 3:38 PM

The Capturing of Gestures, Image and Light.

Just the other week I went to see a new show of Fiona Rae’s work at the Timothy Taylor gallery. Her gestural work to me always appears very deliberate and frozen in time and a bit dated, however, the new work is monochrome and exciting in its ability to appear to move quixotically and there is something mesmerising about it.

Fiona Rae Painting

Fiona Rae Gestural Painting

Later that evening I went to see the incredible electronica musician,producer and artist  Flying Lotus . Prior to him coming on stage at the large Brixton Academy stage my friend and I pondered on a large canvas box standing empty centre stage. All was soon revealed when he appeared on stage wearing a cap with reflectors and disappeared behind the screen which then became a virtual space with a light show projected onto it. The Bass throbbed,  and my whole body  felt completely immersed in a very heightened physical and visual way. I had a similar experience late last year when I went to see the incredible (and what felt like a game changing) Ryan Trecartin/Lizzie Fitch show at the Zabludowicz Collection. Here I put on headphones and was completely immersed and bombarded in a cross sensory installation and virtual world experience.

Installation by Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch

Amazing Installation by Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch.

It was incredible. It reminded me of some of John Zorn’s music, in particular The Big Gundown and his amazing compositions of the eighties, which bombard you from all angles at an amazing speed.

Flying Lotus at the Brixton Academy.

When driving back through the night following the Flying Lotus gig, I caught a great show on the radio with the great minimalist composer Philip Glass who has worked extensively in Opera and interestingly talked about importance of how the visual should leave space for music and leave space for the imagination or else he felt it was trying to advertise something. I found this very interesting as it is a world of advertising both overt and subliminal  that we live in. There is indeed little room for space and contemplation, and perhaps this is what is being reflected in these artist’s work. There is also a fascinating show on at the moment of John Stezeaker’s work which also contain super fast images which cleverly become contemplative also.

Sunlight on Performance Piece

Sunlight on Performance Piece.

Paint and light and their interrelationship as a medium, and the mark’s relevance in capturing time is something that fascinates me and is driving my ongoing work at the moment.

June 2015

Sunlight passing over Performance Paint

Sunlight Passing over Paint

POSTED: 06/2/15 3:00 PM

Correspondences in Iceland 15 (iii)

Following on from my previous blogs, Here are some of the most recent stills from the film I have been working on.

Performance Space Painting

Performance Space Painting (Film Still)

Still from forthcoming Film

Still from Forthcoming Film

Film Still for forthcoming film.


These images are the latest which reflect my continued exploration of process and the encapsulating of time in my work. In the coming months I will be tying the images together with filmmaker Håvard Helle with music and sound.

This weekend, I contributed a physical painting performance to the exciting “Sequences, Real Time Art Festival” in Reykyavik. The time-based solo performance took up the theme of Plumbing (the theme of the festival) and was filmed in a space immediately opposite the Kling and Bang gallery, where there was an exciting show of Carollee Schneeman’s work. The performance also reflected upon her work. Following my performance I crossed the road to see a showing of Fuses, and an interesting talk between Ragnar Kjartansson and Carollee.

A particular highlight of the shows and performances i went to was an amazing performance by Styrmir Orn Guomundsson called the death show, reflecting upon Death, Life and the passing of time at turns humorous and moving. There were also very interesting sound works by Finnbogi Petursson and Helga Griffiths .

Asides from the exciting festival, I also got to see the incredible Harpa building that lights up at night. An extraordinary and beautiful sight.

Harpa Reykjavik

Beautiful Harpa Building.

Listning to:

To Pimp a Butterfly- Kendrick Lamar

Damogen Furies-Squarepusher.

Epocotyl-Portia Winters.

Radhe Radhe-Rites of Holi. Music by Vijay Iyer.


Sound-Unbound-Paul D Miller

“Rite Of Passage” The Early Years of Vienna Actionism. Snoeck.

April 2015.

POSTED: 04/14/15 6:19 PM

Correspondences 15(ii)

One of My favourite sounds at the moment is rain pouring relentlessly outside, some of it dripping into buckets, placed perfectly in a my decaying leaking mouldy studio. Messiaen’s Birdsong, plucked from my Pram of Vinyl ( an old and well used Silvercross pram) and played beautifully by Peter Hill (with whom I once performed). Music, Sound and nature working harmoniously together. I love these moments when all senses intermingle and work seamlessly.

Over the past few posts I have enclosed some stills from a film I am still working on.  Much of the film is set in the woodland of which surround the studio where I worked until very recently, with a soundtrack which will include the cross sensory music of Mira Calix which I am listening to at the time of writing.  The organic sounds of the music is reminding me of  a few precious hours last year watching the mesmerising  “Water Light, Water Needle” (also set in woodland) whilst waiting to meet  Carolee Schneeman for Lunch, prior to an opening of an exhibition of her solo London exhibition at Hales Gallery. It’s the first time we had met and also that I had seen a solo show of her work, and lovely to see how fresh, organic, revolutionary and revelatory it still feels, though a lot created nearly 50 years ago, and for many years neglected. So much of Schneemann’s work, as do many other artists,  feel a real connection with. It all feels so refreshingly engaging, yet speaks to us all about expressing through our own body’s and taking the image all the more closer to a bodily and whole fundamental cross sensory experience. The work seems timeless though created via performance and instances. In short it feels rare and special, going beyond the image and towards something liminal and on the threshold. When watching Water Light…. I thought a lot about the fruitful collaboration with the groundbreaking composer James Tenney and I am fascinated how music fed into Schneemann’s  physical/ visual work speaking so strongly today.

Whilst on the subject of Schneemann and Time, there is a forthcoming exciting festival “Sequences Festival” starting in April and is featuring her work amongst other time based video work by Jordan BasemanEd Atkins and others. A few evenings ago I went to see a warm intimate talk with Jem Finer, whose work on time continues to fascinate. His work eloquently examines the passing of time via the use of sound, mechanisms and films.

Last year I also met with the writer Erin Soros (whose short story was nominated for a Costa Award) and I continue a long distance collaboration. Her writing is incredibly cross sensory and is also about a different woodland and the passing of time in Canada and beautifully descriptive visceral writing about logging in Canada.  I am at present furthering this work with Erin on films and interventions, a meditation on time, nature, improvisation and the feeling of displacement across continents and she has written passages that respond in part to my performance abstractions to music by the Australian Composer and Pianist Andrea Keller overlaid on Perspex.

I notice of late (with pleasure) there has been a renewed interest in Painting performance/and physical work with a great exhibition by Hauser and Wirth called “Right’s of Passage” with work by artists such as Hermann Nitsch and Rudolf Scwarzkogler. A few years ago when I was looking in great depth at the Gutai artists, all I could find was one definitive book (which is fantastic) by Ming Tiapo. Absolutely extraordinary when you think about all the huge glossy monologues on much lesser influential groups and western artists. Thankfully and mercifully though this is being readdressed with shows such as “Splendid Playground” at the Guggenheim, and the absolutely terrific “Danser sa Vie” at the Pompidou which I saw a few years ago and currently there are a few solo shows of great neglected performance painter Kazou Shiragu whose “Challenging Mud” is a great example of process based abstraction. In all this work I find great connection via the crossing of senses to act of a meditative practise. In Shiragu’s case he spent a great deal of his life as a Buddhist Monk. As I mentioned in my previous posting with the Sound work of Ikeda and Marclay and the influence of Cage…it is this work with its reflection on the capturing of time which I draw upon in my own imagery and sounds.

Listning to:

SunnO))) and Ulver -Terrestrials.

Morton Feldman for Phillip Guston.

Tru Thought’s -Robert Louis via Soundcloud.

John Cage 18 Microtonal Raga’s- Amelia Cuni


Rite Of Passage: The Early Years of Vienna Actionism.

Andrey Tarkovsky- Sculpting in Time

Helen Frankenthaler “Composing with Colour” (Gagosian NY)

POSTED: 03/2/15 4:39 PM

“Correspondences” 15.

Happy New Year to all reading this.

Recent workings and research over the past years have concentrated upon the “Correspondences” between the senses, and the encapsulating of time within music and sound via hybrid collaborative performances and interventions. It is work that relates to this that fascinates me, albeit either via painting, Music, sound art, poetry or via media. The performances I undertake are most often cross collaborative in nature and question the ontological status of the artwork left.

Correspondences were the overriding theme of a conversation I attended last month at the British Library between the American artist Christian Marclay and the Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikeda. It was a fascinating to hear and see Ikeda speaking about how light and sound were as one for him. He also mentioned that he deliberately threw away his pallete, instead insisting on concentrating upon tonal shifts relating to Data, speaking eloquently about randomness and the accidental. Marclay  is fascinating and I felt it was rather a shame there was not more discussion about his own work as Ikeda’s wprk Sphere was the focus.  His exceptional 2010 durational piece “The 24 hour Clock” is one of the greatest recent pieces on the nature of time.  ‘Time is everything’ Marclay and Ikeda agreed and both acknowledged the influence of John Cage’s work on their respective works. In response to my own question about time in their respective work, Marclay spoke about how time differs in his experience of Improvisation and also upon viewing art in a gallery, becoming unaware of time in opposition to the composition of music, which is heavily structured and dependent on time. All these ideas and questions fascinate me. Both Ikeda and Marclay’s work is mesmerising and all consuming, and I couldn’t help thinking of the experience of meditation in relation to their time based work.

In recent intense interventions in art galleries and concert halls of my own, a score of sorts via sounds is created and now I am devoting time to analyzing some of this work musically, reinterpreting the painted images left via sound.  I am also re-examining the notation in conjunction with to these paintings and was recently given some copies of Messiaen scores, which I am also looking at in relation to my own painted responses over many years. This was in part prompted by a comment that Art Historian Richard Cork made when viewing one of my paintings asking me if I could remember certain chords played to a certain mark I had made.

While on the subject of visual music, The other week just before Christmas time I went to see the latest Gerhard Richter show at the impressive and elegant Marion Goodman Gallery in London which had two fantastic large subtle grey pieces in response to the music of Arvo Part. Recently I have been listening to incredible distorted minimal sounds of Son0))) and I couldn’t help thinking that their monumental music would have fitted perfectly with some of the incredible Richard Serra sculptures currently on show at the Gagosian Gallery in London.

There has also been some recent fascinating shows directly relating and interfacing music and earlier this year on this theme called “Part File Score” at the Hamburger Bahnhoff by the sound artist Susan Philipsz. The show looked at the interplay between sound, notation and displacement. There is also a show in Zurich at the moment, called “The Present Moment in B-Flat” by the artist Anri Sala, who also looks at the capturing of time in music via video installation, whose work was so powerfully displayed a few years ago at the Serpentine Gallery. It is this feeling of displacement between the moment, and the different experiences of time, which are the themes I continue to explore via performance, objects and film.

Listening to:

Flying Lotus: “You’re Dead”

D’Angelo “Black Messiah”

Tru Thought’s  Unfold on Mix Cloud

Quantic: Magnetica.

Aphex Twin: Syro

SunnO))) and Scott Walker “ Soused”

Ligetti  “Clear or Cloudy” Collected works.


Brian Eno-Visual Music.

Oskar Fischinger-Experiments in Cinematic Abstraction.

John Gage- Colour and Meaning.

Simon Shaw Miller-Eye hEar.

POSTED: 01/9/15 3:36 PM