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Atmospherics

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

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Written by Jacquelyn Brioux

This past week, from January 5th through 10th, Zavitz Hall held a rather avant-garde exhibit entitled, Atmospherics. Under the supervision and direction of Professors Ellen Waterman and John Graham (School of Fine Art and Music, University of Guelph), twenty-one print-makers from Graham’s third year Intaglio course and ten musicians from The Fall 2003 Contemporary Music Ensemble collaborated to create 21 prints and 11 compositions of captivating visual and sonic art. The material for the exhibit was originally introduced on Friday November 21st 2003 in front of a capacity audience at the George Luscombe Theatre, University of Guelph. The prints were displayed on the stage as a ‘quilt’ covered by a black curtain. The quilt was revealed row by row as the corresponding compositions were performed by the ensemble. The visual and sonic pieces represent the artist’s individual tastes, the ensemble collaboration, and the need for a coherent whole.

Upon entering the exhibit in Zavitz, you are presented with a ‘quilt’ of twenty visual art prints, a CD player with a recording of the eleven sonic tracks, and (on the wall) an outline of which tracks correspond with what prints and how to listen. While taking in the art (both visual and sonic) you are asked to ‘hear’ the prints from left to right, starting at the top left-hand corner and working down by each row. The collaboration can be observed as an aesthetic dialogue between the visual and the sonic… and that’s exactly what it feels like as you gaze upon and listen to it –‘dialogue;’ it’s as if the music and art collectively absorb you into their discourse, willingly or not. A combustion of thoughts and mental imagery begin to develop in your mind while the pulsating tones, smashing crescendo’s, and seemingly narrative jazz fuse with the visual to expel and highlight various colours, strokes, lines, symbols, shades, figures, and faces from the canvas. While fixating on the corresponding images and sounds, your view becomes tunneled and the room suddenly feels alive, as if the music has brought the print to life and visa versa.

  • For a look at some more pictures, click here.

I particularly enjoyed the print by Kyle Metcalf and its corresponding musical piece entitled, “Argue” – composed by Tegan Ceschi-Smith, Chloe Hamilton (violins), Caroline Sulatyc (viola), and Steve Beauchamp (cello). Metcalf’s mystifying collage of faces filled with dark shadows and looming expressionism matched with the anxious and intense musical string composition places the art in context, full of fleeting and threatening post-colonial drama.

The exhibit, in its entirety, presented a very diverse collection of new and experimental pieces that showed off the wealth of talent sprouting from Guelph musical and visual artists. It is, however, unfortunate that the exhibit ran during a very hectic time for many students, or else there may have been a larger crowd out to respect this sonic and visual art where, obviously, respect and praise was due.
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