Painting and music harmonize in latest Falls Church art show

Discussing the “sisterly relationship” between painting and music, Leonardo da Vinci once wrote that “a moment delights the eye as music delights the ear.” The Falls Church Arts Center’s current exhibition, “Music in My Eyes,” is a feast for the eyes and ears as area artists look at music through the lens of sister art paintings. Various musical genres are given visual texture through screen printing, photography, oil and acrylic painting on canvas, and many other media.

Joan Slotto’s “Bach Three Movement Counterpoint Concerto” was created to “celebrate Bach’s contrapuntal music composition style.” While studying at university, the artist Slotow was inspired by Wanda Landowska’s recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the harpsichord. The artist depicts her artwork in three variations or panels. The colors of blue, yellow, and brown (each color represents a melodic line) remain the same across the three panels, but the shapes vary. In the left panel we see organic lines with a wavy pattern. If you look closely, if you tilt your head to the side, you can see the sixteenth note. This represents the A variant, which may sound smoother. The image in the middle can be thought of as the “skeletal structure” of music. Each color or musical line is carefully connected into a clear shape without clashing with each other. One can almost “hear” the staccato notes in these shapes. In the image on the right, the relationships between colors intersect in interesting “counterpoint” ways.

Julia Glatfelter’s oil painting “Exercise Brahms” is an impressive work of art photorealism. The work depicts a room shrouded in veil-like curtains, with the shadows of the window frames cast from afar. Outside these windows we see an almost “exploded” leaf, the brightness and treatment of light suggesting that the painting was actually based on photographic references. In the lower foreground we see the silhouette of a man practicing his cello. We learn from the artist that this is her husband, practicing Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 “in their breezy summer home.” The piece, with its calm and realistic colors, evokes a sense of calm, an almost meditative one, and draws the viewer into the world of this home and the skilled musicians within.

Imagine yourself in a jazz nightclub and the band is playing Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” or Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.” As a big band swings, the trombones slide and you feel the vibrations of the music! That’s the feeling exuded by Bob Biedrzycki’s pen-and-ink drawing “Trombones,” which vividly recreates three musicians playing trombones in a swing band’s brass section. The work adopts retro black and white tones, giving it the color of the times through the style of “graphic art pen”.

JoAnn Laboy’s cubist mixed media art piece “Jazz” continues the jazz style, featuring geometric shapes of circles and straight lines. Musical lines can be seen as numbers, representing the unusual time signatures of jazz. As for the musical notes, they are drawn as circles and triangles. The artist’s use of warm monochrome colors is reminiscent of Cubist works such as Georges Braque’s “Violin and Palette,” with similar musical themes.

In Kelsey Joyce’s unique work, the artist chose to paint on vinyl records. “Eye of The Tiger-Pink” features an exotic tiger face with stripes, blue-green eyes and pink fur, all of which is in keeping with the exotic long-form record it depicts, “Far Away” The themes blend together. Speaking of vinyl records, James Hengst’s photo Any Fidelity Goes shows the iconic CD Cellar store in Falls Church, a Long-playing records are still sold today.

Following the harmonic route in the exhibition, we meet vintage jazz artists Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton, who are presented visually in Eric Stewart’s linocut prints. Rock music was embodied in Chelsea Tinklenberg’s “Heavy Metal” and immortalized in Rosemary Gallick’s “Jimi H Playing” – “Jimi H” being rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Another point of interest and surprise are the multiple images of physicist Albert Einstein playing the violin in Jennifer Murphy’s Einstein and His Violin, which were painted on canvas of puzzle pieces.

As our brief survey of “Music in My Eyes,” on view at the Falls Church Art Gallery through February 25, shows, there are as many visual styles on display as musical genres. Audiences will be interested in how the two “sister arts” of painting and music interact and illuminate each other.

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