Structures #129 ©Lisa Call
12″ x 12″ fabric, thread, dye
on stretched canvas $520
“Little Fugue” (2:57 mins) © Helen Davey.
(prepared piano for 8 hands)
The Structures series, which investigates the boundaries we use to divide our world, originated in 2001 as an exploration of human-made structures for containment such as fences and stone walls. Lines of posts, negative space created between odd shaped stones, and uniform rows of bricks were all of interest.
As the series matured, focus has shifted to the psychological barriers humans use to protect themselves emotionally, exploring how we hide our true thoughts and feelings with these imaged roadblocks. Some question that inform the work:
• Do we put up walls to keep others out or to keep ourselves in?
• Do these imagined boundaries really keep us safe?
• Are we hiding from ourselves or from the outside?
• What are the risks and benefits of exposure should the walls come down?
The textile paintings continue to reference the physical fences and walls that initially caught my attention, but as the series progresses these constructs often become more abstract.
I wanted to work with Lisa’s exploration of containment so I chose a Fugue as a high structured musical form to “colour in”. You’ll hear 4 voices entering with the main theme during the exposition representing the 4 quadrants of Lisa’s artwork. These voices repeat their angular melody line in another key for a compact development (episode) before the return to the tonic and the final “hitting the wall” ending.
Each of the voices’ respective areas of development are like little patchwork pictures in their own right that can meld to form the larger piece. They each have their own patterns, timbre combinations and rhythmic individuality to give a rich texture. This is where I was ruminating on the themes around containment.
I’ve selected the following sound sources as musical devices to evoke some of the qualities of this beautiful piece of art.
– Lydian modality: the brightest of the modes in response to the rich colours. Thanks to Manuela Keller* for her insights into my fun with modes;
– Tempo: 129 bpm (to carry Lisa’s “Structures #129”);
– Prepared piano (means popping things inside a piano to create a wide array of tone colours that can enrich textural elements and add contrasts). This was my aim for this sound-painting as I wanted to evoke a softness and more spheric dimension to the music to reflect the textural quality of the art.
Here’s a few of the toys I used for Petit Fugue:
1. lace spindles inserted between strings, tapped with wooden mallets for a sense of spaciousness,
2. strings “dampened” with fingertips to give a duller quality
3. strings struck with wooden mallets of the bowed or plucked strings.
I love that Lisa calls her works textile paintings. It seemed apt that I sound-paint to one of her works. Thanks so much for listening and reading thus far.
Today marks the half way point of project 52 Sound-Paintings! Isn’t that remarkable – 26 weeks of art and music to date. HOORAY !!!!!
To celebrate this milestone, next week, I will release CD volume 2 of Project “52 Sound-Paintings” so you can tell everyone you know they’ve still got time to grab a copy before Christmas… or all the birthdays between.
* Manuela Keller: “Dur, Moll und ihre vier Schwestern. Kurze Klavierstücke in kirchentonarten zum spielen und improvisieren – auch vierhändig” (2006, Musik Verlag Nepomuk, Schweiz).