BLONDE ART BOOKS & MATTHEW WALKER / SHELLEY BURGON, EVE ESSEX, JUAN ANTONIO OLIVARES, PHILIP WHITE & NATE WOOLEY
“Render Visible” was a multifaceted presentation of books, works on paper and performances. In his book Francis Bacon, The Logic of Sensation (1981), Gilles Deleuze wrote, “Paul Klee’s famous formula—‘Not to render the visible, but to render visible’—means nothing else.” He applies Klee’s quote to Francis Bacon’s paintings in order to highlight the artist’s sensitivity to non-visible forces and his ability to render them visible.
The artworks presented in the exhibition “Render Visible” are typified by their transformation of a functioning musical composition or mapping document of a sound-based performance into a work of visual art. The works are authored by a diverse group of artists, composers, photographers, painters, musicians, performers, engineers, academics, producers, and writers including Lea Bertucci, Shelley Burgon, Seth Cluett, Eve Essex & Juan Antonio Olivares, Guy Goldstein, Ben Hall & Nate Wooley, Matt Marble, Daniel Neumann, Elliott Sharp, Jo-ey Tang, Hannah Whitaker and Philip White. As a collective, they demonstrate a similar sensitivity to sound’s intimate relationship with visual art practices.
The second component of “Render Visible” was the curated library and bookstore containing over 100 titles from publishers including Frog Peak Music, Swill Children, FO A RM Magazine, MIT Press and Errant Bodies Press, among others. The collection was compiled following a period of research and dialogue with artists, academics and publishers participating in the fields of sound art and experimental music.
The final component of the presentation was a series of four distinct performances by artists Shelley Burgon, Eve Essex & Juan Antonio Olivares, Nate Wooley, and Philip White. Each of the performers contributed an artwork to be exhibited and many are published in one or more texts in the library. Burgon performed an improvised piece from the JSBJ publication Bruit de Fond (Background Noise), as well as her first graphic score, “Odd Corners of My Life” (2000); Essex & Olivares performed “The End, Light Blue,” a text-based score inspired by post-production Foley techniques; White premiered “/,” a simple and slow work of lower to higher frequencies of sine waves; Wooley performed, “ Syllables,” the second work in a series of pieces using the International Phonetic Alphabet to set the physical parameters of the trumpet. These aural interpretations, most of which were being performed for the first time, went beyond merely demonstrating the functionality of their visual counterpart. The events render visible the connection between visual art practice and sound, making evident the significance of improvisation, spatiality, imagination, and interpretation that exists in all art making.