Arts Alliance hosts exhibit combining music with art
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013 21:03
For local artist Karen Scheler of Newark, there is a constant ringing and buzzing in her inner ear, caused by the disease tinnitus. Despite its annoyance, this ringing is what inspired her latest work, Scheler says.
“It doesn’t bother me particularly, but it’s always there so I thought, ‘What does it sound like?’” Scheler says. “I listened and heard patterns and then figured out how to convey the ringing through paint.”
Titled “Tinnitus,” the piece by Scheler was put together using wax, embroidery and silk. It is one of the numerous art pieces currently featured at an exhibition titled “Do You See What I Hear?” at the Newark Art Alliance, a community-based art hub where local artists can take classes, participate in a monthly drum circle and enter their art for shows with expert judge. The current exhibition, which is open from March 5 to March 30, had one rule for the submissions––the piece had to convey sound.
Wanting to challenge local artists, Scheler, who helped organize the exhibition, says the idea was to get artists to think outside of the box. She said she was surprised to see the finished pieces of art, which included string instruments made out of tin cans, a necklace made out of CDs and a frog made out of clay.
Dennis Lawson, executive director of Newark Art Alliance, says artists were required to stretch their imagination fit the theme of the show. Lawson says the ideas behind the submissions were surprisingly innovative because of this challenge.
“I was just expecting paintings that suggested sound,” Lawson says. “The necklace with the CDs was unexpected and those were the things that stuck out. It really jumps out at you.”
Artist Amber Sarno, 17, of North East, Md., designed and crafted the necklace made from CDs. She has spent four semesters at Cecil College where she studies studio art, graphic art and English, she says. She says she focuses on making art that is environmentally and socially concerned.
The necklace, titled “Soundwaves” was a piece inspired by synesthesia, the relationship between human sensations, Sarno says. Though primarily an artist, Sarno says she plays the piano, sings and “can never be found without headphones.”
“The most difficult challenge is what you think a particular type of sound looks like,” Sarno says. “Matching something towards rock music, to classical music to nature sounds––each looks a different way.”
She says she does not live as close to Newark Art Alliance as she would like, but is an active member and regularly contributes. Members are invited to submit pieces in the organization’s shows and receive a discount for the entry fee, Lawson says.
Music and art have been intertwined throughout history, music professor Xiang Gao says. The exhibition at Newark Art Alliance will be satisfying for the audience by using cooperation between two different disciplines, Gao says
The close relationship between music and art started over 100 years ago, he says, and both have mutually influenced each other. He says French music and art began this trend as artists in the 19th century would draw inspiration from the musicians, while musicians used art to make new music as well. In the annual Master Players Series, Gao says this relationship is highlighted.
“In their philosophical messages, music and art have so much in common,” Gao says. “Tradition, color dynamics, expression and rhythm are found in both fields.”
Retired art professor Joe Moss chose nine of his favorite as his “juror’s choices” among the 32 pieces submitted by 12 artists, Scheler says. Among his top choices were Scheler’s painting, Sarno’s CD necklace and a clay spring frog created by a young girl
André Jones, a multidisciplinary artist from Wilmington, entered three pieces into the exhibition including an oil painting, a portrait and a digitized picture of jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie. Jones says translating music into art is a natural process for him because he is not limited to one medium of art.
“I have this thing about creating work that is intuitive rather than being instructed into it and feeling what is right as opposed to me doing what I know is right,” Jones says. “Because of that, I see my color palette as music notes. Each color has its own value, its own tone and its own pitch.”
By the age of five, Jones says he knew he wanted to be a musician upon hearing praise from his art teacher. From there, he explored various forms of art such as drawing and painting, he says.
Even years later, he says he still experiments with new art forms such as image manipulation on Photoshop, he says.
The Newark Art Alliance organizes 10 shows a year and each show has a particular theme, Lawson says. All shows, which are organized by the Gallery Shop Committee of volunteers, are open to both members and the public, he says.
Upon graduating in two years, Sarno says she hopes to continue working with art, possibly opening up a gallery similar to Newark Art Alliance in her town. Because she loves children, Sarno says she ideally would have art classes.
For Jones, he says his job as an artist transcends giving audience members a picture to look at.
“Music has the ability to emote,” he says. “My job as an artist regardless of discipline— is to make people feel.”