“GETTING TO QUIET” by Laurie LeBreton
abaca, mixed media, 35 pieces, individual pieces 4″ – 8″ tall, 2011
“Music for Libraries – Hail Brian Eno” (6:38 mins) © Helen Davey
(for 5 voices, e-bow, piano:strings & keys)
The unattainable, the elusive, the indefinable: my art explores all these concepts. Using my primary medium, handmade paper, I make paper sculptures constructed on forms and on armatures. With these sculptures I examine ideas of impermanence, the role of chance, the interplay of joy and sorrow and the futility of control.
As I created “Getting to Quiet” I thought back to when I was teaching. I always knew children were learning when there was a quiet murmur in the room, when they were talking to each other occasionally, softly, in a calm way.
This sculpture is about that kind of calm. It is not a silent calm, but rather a hushed and engaged one. It’s the kind of calm that we find in the best libraries.
“Please don’t touch, But feel free to blow gently”.
My eyes tend to hear soundscapes. When I saw and read about Laurie’s “Getting to Quiet” I was inspired to create music exploring the concepts and ideas Laurie has identified in her notes; music seems the perfect realm for these things methinks. I also related to her description of happy schoolrooms, when children are in the flow of learning with that calm buzz of synapses doing their thing.
Because of Laurie’s reference, initially I’d thought to work blowing across many water filled bottles (of different tones). However my out-of-practice embouchure and the unreliability of various bottle necks put that idea back on the shelf, so I turned elsewhere.
I was pondering circles and came accross an animated image of the circle of fifths, which when captured as a still image, resembled some of Laurie’s shapes;
On a whim, I delved a little more and began to experiment with combining curved and circular motifs. I drew on the circle of 5ths as a musical cycle that ultimately brings my Anglo ears to a sense of quiet.
Coincidentally (?) a friend showed me Frank Haunschield’s diatonic circle of fourths in his “Die Neu Harmonielehre – vol 2” and I was sold. Check out below, how it looks on paper! How much fun to use Hanschield’s diagram of circles within the big circle to guide my hands!
Laurie had mentioned to me, that when the suspended pieces of “Getting to Quiet” hit each other they make a little clicking sound. I wanted to magnify that click from the perspective of the individual paper fibres in the sculptures, so we could sense the reverberating as bass notes. These you can hear as punctuations to the 12 tonalities around the diatonic circle.
You’ll hear the voices circling with the cycle, curving away from then resolving again, from one key to another; All of these elements are bound together by a very slow pulse of 35 b.p.m., each representing one of Laurie’s 35 sculptures.
As is often the case when I’m researching, I’m acutely aware of the bounty of shared knowledge and discoveries from people who have travelled this pathway before me. For my “Music for Libraries”, I want to acknowledge the work of J.S.Bach, Frank Haunshield, Meredith Monk and of course Brian Eno as major influences in my response to Laurie’s “Getting to Quiet. I also want to acknowledge YOUR part in viewing the art here and thank your continued support of my project.
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