Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sounding out the Vision

Humans have identified five types of senses that we have evolved to help us find our way in the world - sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. And over the years we have come to accept them as separate and distinct ways our bodies gather information about the universe around them. These senses are like our antennas, bringing data from the outside world back into our inside world – through our eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin.

Eye Score installation shot, Gallery 1 
Artists from l to r: John Aslanidis, Angela Cavalieri, Michael Graeve.
Documentation photography courtesy of Christian Capurro

The art you encounter in museums and galleries is mostly made to be consumed by sight - to be taken in through the eyes. For Eye Score we have brought together a collection of artwork that accesses your ears through your eyes.

The gallery spaces have each developed their own flavour - their own character - driven by the nature of the particular artworks in that space. In the first gallery there is a sense of feeling; in the back gallery there is a sheet music library; and in the long gallery there is a biological flavour.

The first works you encounter are text works. Catherine Clover has produced a site-specific intervention on the large glass-walled entrance foyer. Clover provides a reflective experience, where the subtlety of visual concentration marries the subtlety of aural concentration.

Catherine Clover (2015), so to speak, site-specific text installation, (c) Courtesy of the artist.
Documentation photography courtesy of Christian Capurro

Text is at the start of the show because writing is possibly the first audible image. Humans first started communicating with body language, then with voice (sound) and then with writing (image). Once we figured out that you can scratch circles and lines and dashes into clay and send it 100km away in a way that carries our voices over the horizon, we could start talking silently.

So text is at the start of the exhibition. It’s also a way to show that while you’re inside a fairly isolated gallery, the ideas connect back outside into the presence of the world. Angela Cavalieri’s prints are along the entrance wall, swirling lines of lyrics moving through space. The first gallery contains a central work – John Aslanidis epic-scale 5-metre painting. Its vibratory effect activates your central nervous system and its delivery platform echoes its inner content.

Michael Graeve’s site-specific painting installation is a master class in composition. It is rich with the experimentation of improvisation and yet conducted with symphonic orchestration. The spaces of empty wall left between the colourful paintings is as important as the paintings themselves.

In the back gallery we have a record shop - a library of sheet music. John Nixon’s fourteen abstract paintings are geometric modernist history in the theatre of a postmodern environment. And also vice versa. This work has been site-specifically modified by Nixon, extracting all the even-numbered panels from his full suite, leaving #1, #3, #5, #7… etc on the walls for Eye Score. Improvising his composition in this way is a form of performance that reinforces the ideas inherent in the work.

Dylan Martorell's various scores
Documentation photography courtesy of Christian Capurro

In the same space is a suite of diagrammatic pencil drawings. Dylan Matorell’s scores are architectural blueprints taken from nature and constructed as instructions. They are the DNA of plants converted to guide-lines for songs. Martorell’s work runs across and into the long gallery where his biological source material reveals itself most directly and connects to the nature of the artworks in that space.

Along the central 19-metre wall, local Boroondara artist and musician Carmen Chan has produced a site-specific wall painting that pulls at the architectural space to weave an expression of bodily movement. Bubbles breath their way across the expanse, rising against gravity to meet their home.

A series of six Sound Paintings by Danae Valenza are record sleeves for bands whose music is only ever heard in your own head. Isolating notes and recombining them, Valenza delivers a concert of electronic sampling, but with rich analogue tones. Musicians' hands float free to talk in sign language. The looping historical journey of Eye Score returns to our earliest form of audible imagery – body language.

Eye Score installation shot, Gallery 3
Artists from l to r: Danae Valenza, Angela Cavalieri, Carmen Chan
Documentation photography courtesy of Christian Capurro

All of the characteristics described above are only part of the ideas and significance of the artworks. They each have much more to tell you about an array of different topics and themes. But it is their way of communicating sound through visual means that unites them as a group. Each in their own unique way, each with their own beautiful interpretation of sound into vision.

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