November 16, 2020
Visual Art: Homewood Studios
We are pleased to share the second entry in a series of blog posts in which we invite local artists to explore with us the connections between music and other art forms. For our November 20 livestream performance, artists from Homewood Studios in North Minneapolis have shared selections and comments from their annual resident artists gallery show, Bridging the Rift, pairing a variety of individual pieces of visual art with each of the musical works on the program.
Minnesota Orchestra audiences may recognize Homewood Studios’ artists from their displays in the Orchestra Hall lobby during Sommerfest 2018. Homewood Studios also hosted Orchestra musicians for a chamber music concert during the North Minneapolis Common Chords week in January 2019. In lieu of indoor gallery events, the artists are currently presenting their work through a series of window shows to continue to connect with their community.
Eleanor Alberga: String Quartet No. 2
Using only its first few notes as the inspiration for everything to come, Jamaican-born British composer Eleanor Alberga’s String Quartet No. 2 is a single-movement work that mixes contemporary European techniques with Western Caribbean culture into an exciting musical style that is entirely Alberga’s own.
Distance Series #8, by Laura Dufrane Murphy
I had the idea of trying to express some of the ways that the idea of distance affected me this year. I also felt drawn to the idea of creating small, constricted works in a limited palette to echo the idea of personal constraint. As I listened to Eleanor Alberga’s String Quartet No. 2, the limited palette and especially this piece with the 4 individuals seemed to echo the violins and the constraint of limited musicians. There are parts of the music that are melancholy and expressive, that really echoed loss and sadness for me, while also elevating a feeling of working together (as musicians do, and artists) to lift us up and allow us to own our feelings.
Some Circles, by George Roberts
Collages is not my usual form of work. I have been experiencing some vision challenges of late and decided to use the discipline of cutting out small images to retrain my eye, to learn to see well what I am able to see. What occurred to me as I engaged in this work, is that the goal—to see well what I am seeing right now—is exactly what all our Bridging the Rift work is about in Homewood Studios’ current gallery show. Eleanor Alberga’s willingness to improvise, to simply begin and see what happens, seems entirely consistent with why I tried these collages.
Zen Moments, by Jack Mader
I have a Zen page-a-day calendar of which I typically tear off the previous day’s saying to reveal the current date and Zen statement or commentary. One morning after I tore off the previous day’s page, I laid it face down and couldn’t help but notice how the sunlight played with the torn and curled edge. Minor White, a favorite photographer of mine once said, “At some point every artist walks on water.” I interpret that to mean that as artists we do the miraculous and magical act of creating something from nothing, I feel that with Zen Moments, that’s exactly what I did.
Maurice Ravel: Introduction and Allegro
Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro signaled a new direction for harp music in the 20th century, employing the full chromatic and expressive capabilities of the double-action pedal harp in a chamber music setting. A standout moment arrives two-thirds through the piece—an emphatically expressive harp cadenza—followed by an optimistic and satisfying close.
Elm Seeds in Spring, by Linda Maylish
This summer I spent my time walking through Wirth Park and my neighborhood. I spent time with friends walking through the Quaking Bog, Eloise Butler Flower Garden and around parts of the bigger areas including the beach. Spending time getting to know the trees that have been here for so long and trying to learn their names was one of the main focuses in my artwork. I spent every day the trees’ seeds to small works, while continuing my interest in the vegetables and flowers from my garden. Seeds are a marvel and hold mystery for us throughout the world.
Pocket Garden, by Julie Landsman
We become fierce when we speak for children, elders, flowers, vibrant color between our homes, down the street from our laundromat, next to our favorite coffee shop. In small and scattered gardens, we celebrate all who take walks in the evening with our dogs; join together to keep each other present to beauty; build refuges under high rises, create silent mornings among trees and tulip beds.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 1
Beethoven’s First Symphony is full of crisp melodies and quick turns of phrase, as well as musical “inside jokes.” Later in life Beethoven would revolutionize the symphonic form, but in this early work he was content to compose music of clean lines and undeniable beauty.
Together, by Mieko Yamazaki
I created a series based on the idea that no one color is dominant, that every single color equally contributes to the whole; similar to the idea that our world consists of every one of us, with each having a precious role to play. “Together” reflects on those same thoughts and in addition adds hope to this theme. Such hope involves keeping in sight goodness and good will—elements of our purpose as human beings in this world. All the while we can be aware that while we are separate one from the other, we are also together in our common humanity. Beethoven’s music has "crisp energy" and is "exuberant.” In a way, it is also what my painting, Together, expresses.
United, by Kristen Treuting
As a gourd artist, I have been mostly influenced and inspired by nature, often creating my interpretations and re-imagined designs and patterns from trees, plants, water, and flowers. In other words: pretty gourds. The year 2020 changed so much for all of us. And for me, I felt inclined to make gourds to reflect our changed world. I created United while thinking about the themes of connecting with others, working together for a common good, and harmony.