Colour & Music Links

Hearing Colour,Seeing Sound

Last week I had my paintings explored sonically by musicians at the Royal Academy of Music, who used my work as graphic scores, using them as a focal point to improvise.  This was very exciting for me and created an exciting extra layer to my work of which I will be exploring in a gallery context in the coming months and next year. Some work has also been used by the Composer David Gorton to accompany his new piece for Oboe.

I have been fascinated in how sound can become art itself ever since by chance I saw the wonderful piece Motet by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller when it was in Barcelona. Since then there has been the great Bruce Nauman piece at the Tate Modern and now just yesterday Susan Philipsz has won the Turner prize. I hope that this will open a new dialogue on the subject. I have quite recently begun to explore sound in my own work and have been recording the sound of painting, and have used this to effect in some improvisatory performances. Following the performance at the Royal Academy of Music, I would like the music to play even more of a central theme in the displaying of my work.

Seeing Music workshop

Chronochromie colours

Over the last year I have facilitated many exciting workshops which I always find very stimulating and a vital part of my practice, the last one was at Wolfson College, where participants created exciting artwork and poetry via Ekphransis while the great musician Gerald Garcia played guitar and Tibetan Bowls, a lovely combination of sounds. There was a lovely moment when all one could hear was the sound of the resonating of the bowls and the dripping of water and brush on canvas. This is something I would like to explore further via a performance. Some photos of this workshop can be seen here.

In Verbier (at the Music Festival) earlier in the year, I used a combination of my own playing to illustrate ideas of colours and chords and the great music of Messiaen, in particular the fantastic Chronochromie, which inspired great complex patterns  of colour from participants.

Speaking of colour, there are 3 wonderful shows on at the moment, which relate to it. The coloured light, show by James Turrell which brought to mind for me Thomas Wilfred and his Clavilux experiments which so fascinated (and I believe had a great influence upon) Jackson Pollock . Upon entering his colour pieces, I kept expecting music to erupt. Charles Ives “Central Park in the Dark”, I thought would have gone particularly well. Amazingly, in Birmingham there is a long overdue show of Len Lye, the experimental colourist who made beautiful films of moving colours and shapes earlier last century, and finally the magnificent Gaugin, whose work I saw many years ago in a large show on coloured walls in Chicago which had a great lasting effect on me.

POSTED: 12/7/10 1:22 PM