Thursday, November 10, 2011

Music & Art

The visual and performing arts have always been important in my life, to my life. As a writer I've spent many years, and incredibly happy hours, reviewing performances, in art galleries, talking to artists about their creative lives. Whatever  opportunities I have I go where art is.

Two recent weekends took us east and west to enjoy more live music and a wide variety of art.

First again to Sackville and the Brunton Auditorium at Mount Allison’s Department of Music.  To hear faculty pianist Stephen Runge give a recital in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Liszt’s birth. Highlight of the evening was Runge’s performance of Liszt’s brilliant Sonata in B minor. It’s 3o minutes long and full of dazzling and devilishly difficult passages.

Runge’s interpretation was compelling as the music moved from single notes to bell-like chords, from thunder and turmoil to tenderness.  Another lovely evening in this small, attractive university town.

A week later to Saint John, where we lived for a year, for one of the regular Gallery Hops the city organises. About a dozen galleries have special openings and receptions. All are within easy walking distance in the historic downtown. Plus we were able to have a short visit and tea with some good friends.

The exhibit that delighted me the most was ‘Stimulare – the whispering game’ at the Saint John Art Centre. A Beaux-Art style Carnegie building once a free public library, the Arts Centre now has several galley spaces.

Stimulare, which involved 17 artists and two writers, had as its starting point a photograph by Freeman Patterson. It was a close up of light refracted through a glass of water.

Two artists took this image and painted their interpretation of the original photograph. Their work was then passed on to two more artists, then two more until the two final interpretations created were poems. Creations included metal smithing, recycled copper, fibre,  mixed media, a wood automaton, even postage stamps as well as painting.

 An intriguing look at how interpretation changes, evolves and stimulates the artistic imagination and responses.

Water colours, oils and mixed media work by mother and daughter Heasun Kim and Iris Kim were another ‘worth-the walk’ exhibition.

 New Brunswick Museum showed intriguing collages about the historic searches for the North West passage. Handworks had its usual fabulous jewellery, wood and pottery. At Peter Buckland Gallery, Angel Gomez’s acrylic collages were impressive. Trinity Gallery exhibited works by two Nova Scotia artists; Mark Brennan’s landscapes and Vinton Lloyd’s seascapes and ships.

 This exploration and enjoyment of two of the major communicative arts was another refreshment for my mind and soul.

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