‘Render Visible’ – Artists’ Statements and Installation

Below are images of the exhibition ‘Render Visible’ on view at Present Company, Brooklyn, NY. The show is the first presentation by Blonde Art Books in collaboration with Matthew Walker. The official press release for the presentation can be found here. Bios for the artists and a list of publishers can be found here.

Blonde Art Books would like to thank Matthew Walker – Jose Ruiz – Brian Balderson – Chad Staybrook – Leonora Mardh – Ian Sternthal – Shelley Burgon – Lea Bertucci – Seth Cluett – Eve Essex – Guy Goldstein – Ben Hall – Matt Marble – Daniel Neumann – Juan Antonio Olivares – Elliott Sharp – Jo-ey Tang – Hannah Whitaker – Philip White – Nate Wooley – Theresa Sauer – Kenneth Hullican, Frog Peak Music – Justin Luke, AVA Gallery – Alex Waterman – Richard Garet – Sara O’Keefe – Kelly Lynn Jones, Little Paper Planes – Jesse Hlebo, Swill Children – Etudes Books – Christina Labey and Jason Burstein, Conveyor Arts – Alexis Bhagat – Richard Kostelanetz – Erin Dunigan, ARTBOOK | D.A.P. – Sreshta Rit Premnath, Shifter – Matthew Lyons and Kat Koh, The Kitchen – Lauren Chinault, Showroom – Maria Chavez – Cat Tyc – Grant Willing – William Davenport, UnSound Magazine.

(Left to Right: Guy Goldstein, Daniel Neumann, Ben Hall, Matt Marble, Eve Essex and Juan Antonio Olivares, Philip White, Hannah Whitaker, Lea Bertucci)

Lea Bertucci:
Untitled, 2012, Graphite on graph paper, inkjet print, and plexi, 20 x 74 inches

This piece is a score for a site specific performance at Issue Project Room in downtown Brooklyn for two electroacoustic instruments and six-channel lighting system. The lights were positioned in the concert hall in order to accentuate particular architectural features of the space. The lights were controlled with a DMX box that allowed an individual to fade each light in and out independently of one another. This score is a visual representation of the frequency and intensity with which each light was to be manipulated. The instruments used for this performance (in this case Baritone Saxophone and Bass Clarinet) follow the intensity of the lights and correspond with long tones that increase and decrease in volume.

(Left to Right: Lea Bertucci, Elliott Sharp, Shelley Burgon)

Shelley Burgon:
Odd Corners Of My Life, 2000, Ink, graphite and collage on paper, 12 x 18 inches

Before studying at Mills College my compositional instruction was very conservative. ‘Odd Corners of My Life’ is the first piece I wrote under the tutelage of Pauline Oliveros. The liberal arts setting was really startling and unfamiliar to me and I originally made this piece to test the boundaries of my new surroundings. The title and images come from a book on Erik Satie, a French pianist and composer of the early 20th century. Although I was really drawn to his work during this time, I can’t say that the piece is about him. There is an intricate numbering sequence at the root of the form of the piece. I was always interested in mathematics and these types of hidden elements existed in many of my early pieces.

‘Odd Corners of My Life’, which is exhibited and will be performed for the first time, was pivotal in my understanding and acceptance of other ways to write music beyond the traditional notation that I had been taught. For the second half of my performance I will improvise, gathering inspiration from a selected group of photographs. For this process I look for an underlying narrative to string the images together and interpret the feelings the images evoke or create a sound that reflects the aural interpretation of the visual.

(Left to Right: Lea Bertucci, Elliott Sharp, Shelley Burgon, Jo-ey Tang, and Seth Cluett)

Seth Cluett:
A Loss of Place but a Fragment of Time, 2011, (2) Gray ink, magnetic tape, on 300lb, khadi cotton rag paper, 5 x 5 1/2 inches each

I view the act of recording not as an object of memory in itself, but as a catalyst for imagination that mirrors memory in its manner of operation. I record to articulate the distance between remembrance and perception, amplifying the potential to forget. Like raindrops carving away at a roof or a stream impressing itself on stone, the persistence of recorded objects seems to strive towards permanence, both claiming and eroding space and etching a form of script on the mind. But much like memory, the hand of recorded media writes only a blueprint, articulating a structure that employs imagination as a cipher. Recorded sound (re)presents a form of experience that is separate yet inextricably linked to the memories imprinted by recording. In my practice, the fallible connection between source and recorded trace views simple, everyday actions at extreme magnification, acknowledges failure by amplifying impossible tasks, and explores the role of memory in forms that respect the contract between the artist, performer, and listener.

The drawings presented here are recordings of physical actions; they are a praxis rooted in the theory that drawing and audio recording are different but parallel acts of mimesis. These drawings are an attempt to bridge that difference by bringing the methods closer together. Each piece of magnetic tape contains an audio recording of having drawn the mark on the page. The form of the marks and form of the tape are made similar by calculating the amount of time necessary to draw related to the amount of tape that elapses during recording. The result is the same in both cases, a memory, a trace of action is left but the site of the original action is lost.

(Left to Right: Matt Marble, Eve Essex and Juan Antonio Olivares, Hannah Whitaker, Philip White)

Eve Essex and Juan Antonio Olivares:
The End, Light Blue, 2012, Digital print on vellum, wood veneer envelope with vinyl lettering, 10 1/2 x 38 inches print with 11 x 8 1/2 inches envelope, Edition of 10

Drawing from the possibility of translation between image and sound, we created a visual and text-based score inspired by post-production foley techniques. With the consultation of Marko Costanza, a veteran Hollywood foley artist (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Ice Age), cinematic sound effects are reinterpreted as a system of musical elements.

Ten performers cycle through a variety of roles ranging from quotidian gestures to highly choreographed musical events. Everyday sounds are meticulously recreated by a small ensemble of instrumentalists; physical actions are dramatically and rhythmically amplified. A series of seemingly senseless events cue reactions within the group, in an evolving and organic accretion of sound.

(Left to Right: Guy Goldstein, Daniel Neumann, Ben Hall)

Guy Goldstein:
From the series Sound on Paper, 2012, (3) Graphite on paper, 16 1/2 x 23 1/2 inches each

I perceive reality as a structure of grids upon which the visible and tangible things are organized in and for themselves. I am drawn to the empty spaces that exist between these things. They are like stains, specters which are defined through the tangible and visible things. These empty spaces are metaphysical and amorphous. I see my role to be about inundating the specters onto the surface, giving them a formal expression. My work is deeply concerned with aspects of control and loss of control. In my artistic process I encourage random actions, interruptions in the natural and obvious sequence of events. I work in a range of media, searching for a system or a method that would be generated by those random actions. I react to them with preliminary or late intervention, which constitutes an attempt to domesticate and grasp, fixate and delimitate the process that had lost its coherency and linearity. To do so, I transfer the image that I encounter/create via various techniques, media and proportions until it reaches its fixed form and final installation.

Ben Hall & Nate Wooley:
BEN HALL, Nate Wooley 7/24/11 E, 2011, Polyvinyl Chloride, 20 x 23 inches
BEN HALL, Nate Wooley 7/24/11 B, 2011, Polyvinyl Chloride, 20 x 23 inches

Nate made the scores with the idea that his scores could be for any performer, regardless of media. Our conversations revolved around the idea of what a composition asks of a performer and what the recording/remnant/remains of a performance offer. I employed a non-verbal, coded knock system by Black prisoner’s of war in Vietnam which produces letters, and then words, to Nate’s score. The letters were assigned to collections of screen shots from Hollywood films. Then, in terms of the schematic produced, it was mostly a system of input with Nate’s data affecting a replacement set of data, the POW code which acts more as a conversion, and then the screen shots which replace pitch, timbre, etc, with the final image acting as a direct respondent or a soloist if you will. (BH)

“8 Syllables” is the first work in a series of pieces using the International Phonetic Alphabet to set the physical parameters of the trumpet. In a departure from his usual methodology, Wooley explores his familiar vocabulary through “conscious magnification of a certain aspect of technique that is usually operated through muscle memory and physical intuitive gesture”. This work is at the same time a refinement and detailed expansion of how to approach the trumpet. (NW)

Matt Marble:
Frond, 2012, Ink on paper, 6 x 3 inches
Whorl, 2012, Ink on paper, 6 x 3 inches
Alation, 2012, Ink on paper, 6 x 3 inches

Homeomeriae is a trilogy of pieces drawn from a larger body of work (Faces of Sound). All Faces of Sound works are based on a simple chain-reaction process, as each player sonically responds to the sound of their nearest neighbor in a continuous elastic pulsation. Performers are arrayed in space into a socio-sonic geometry. The three works here – Frond, Whorl, Alation – have each taken the form of their social geometry from an aspect of plant development.

KEY TO IMAGES: The double circle in each score represents the musician that initiates and ends each piece. The larger black dots represent individual musicians.

The dashed lines, – – -, connect neighbor-to-neighbor.

The dotted lines, • • •, group players according to hypothetical synchronizations.

The hard black lines, —-, connect players with larger-scale patterns in mind.

These images are used by Marble, always keeping their social and sonic geometry in mind, to compose individualized notations to be ciollectively improvised upon by the ensemble. The works have involved highly skilled musicians and people who have never played music before, traditional instruments and synthesizers as well as home-made or found instruments. Related works have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) in Barcelona & the Jersey City Museum and have been featured in the Leonardo Music Journal and the graphic score publication via Fo(a)rm Magazine, Tools of Mind.

Daniel Neumann:
Signal Flow Charts and Spatial Arrangement
for Modular Collaborations (Modul)

Ink on paper, 2007, 9 x 12 inches
Signal Flow Charts and Spatial Arrangement
for Modular Collaborations (Innen Aussen)
Ink on paper, 2007, 9 x 12 inches
Signal Flow Charts and Spatial Arrangement for Modular Collaborations (T), Ink on paper
2008, 9 x 12 inches
Signal Flow Charts and Spatial Arrangement for Modular Collaborations (Inne Ohne), Ink on paper
2008, 9 x 12 inches
Signal Flow Charts and Spatial Arrangement for Modular Collaborations (Spring Migration), Ink on paper, 2010, 12 x 9 inches
Signal Flow Charts and Spatial Arrangement for Modular
Collaborations (Short Lesson),
Ink on paper, 2012, 9 x 12 inches
Signal Flow Charts and Spatial Arrangement for Modular
Collaborations (Transatlantic),
Ink on paper, 2012, 9 x 12 inches
Signal Flow Charts and Spatial Arrangement for Modular
Collaborations (Eyebeam),
Ink on paper , 2012, 9 x 12 inches

In his artistic practice he is using conceptual and mostly collaborative strategies to explore sound and sound material and its modulation through space and media. Pieces are developed in different formats and variations as ongoing processes, which can result in concerts, installations, radio shows and others. The leitmotif for these processes is the development of a poetry of the fragile, and a skepticism towards demonstrations of power. Impermanence is understood as temporal fragility. For his collaborative practice he coined the term ‘modular collaboration’, which describes a non-hierarchical and decentralized form of organization, where collaborators interact as equals. Context and site are important parameters and often used as a starting point.

(Left to Right: Lea Bertucci, Elliott Sharp, Shelley Burgon)

Elliot Sharp:
From Foliage, 2012, (4) Inkjet prints, 14 x 11 inches each

To create Foliage, I composed fragments in musical notation and saved them as graphic files which were then subjected to various types of processing. The images were inverted, stretched, filtered, modulated with various waveforms, and otherwise distorted to create a score that reveals its sources in musical notation while manifesting its own visual identity. Foliage is meant to be seen as much as it is an instruction set for sound; form and function interlocked.

Jo-ey Tang:
Untitled (1-5), 2011, (5) Sandpaper, 11 x 8 1/2 inches each

Jo-ey Tang’s sandpaper drawings elicit ghostly figures, derived from the nature of their utilitarian backdrop. Created by scratching the paper on the artist’s studio floor and walls, the alternately delicate and jagged forms seem to long to return to the deposits that previously concealed them.

The five sandpaper works were made simultaneously by rubbing the surfaces of studio walls and floor. Installed apart, the points of contiguity become clues to their former state. A certain blindness exists, in creating from behind the image, its surfaces revealing the marks of handling. The resulting graphic score-like abstractions can be seen as direct recording of its own making.

(Left to Right: Hannah Whitaker, Philip White)

Hannah Whitaker:
Imaginary Landscape No. 1, (Phrases 1 – 4), 2012, (4) Archival pigment prints, 14 x 11 inches each

Imaginary Landscape No. 1 is a visualization of the phrase-length structure of a John Cage composition from 1939 of the same name. Using light leaks to attribute numerical values to photographs, it borrows the original Cage composition’s organizing principle for the duration of each phrase. The first of four sections (each composed of four phrases) is presented here.

Philip White
\, 2012, Inkjet on vellum, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

\ is a simple and slow work that starts out high and ends low. Phase modulated sine waves in the ultrasonic range gradually produce sidebands at lower frequencies until reaching the sub sonic range, at which point the higher frequencies are rolled off until only the low tone remains.