Exploring the Relationship Between Art and Music

Visual art and music have numerous parallels because they share elements like harmony, balance, rhythm, and repetition. In the latest exhibition, Intersection: Art & Music, at the Oak Park Art League (OPAL), the link between art and music is explored through 22 works by 15 artists. This exhibition doesn’t aim for the plain cliches often related to music—the popular culture aspect of paying homage to famous recording artists—but rather reflects how music not only creates an effect upon the individual but upon society.

Over the past 65 years, the guitar has played a significant role in most well-liked music, and therefore the two works during this show give us two different perspectives about this instrument. In Music is Love, Jeff Anderson pays tribute to the guitar heroes of rock ‘n’ roll by creating the body of an electrical guitar in mixed media. By just creating a stripped-down version of the body without the neck or strings, the viewer feels the raw power that will be produced by an electrical guitar. Bryan Gammage’s Shanti on the opposite hand gives us a contemplative look of a girl sitting with a guitar in a very pastoral setting—conveying that special oneness that only musicians can experience with their instrument.

In the past few decades, many music groups have produced iconic album covers like The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run, and Nirvana’s Nevermind. During this exhibition, a number of the works could easily act as album covers. Jeff Jenkins’ Phalanges Remix is a wonderful example of this thanks to its 12″x12” size. Jenkins’ use of subdued colors and texture together with a cryptic image of a skeletal figure would make this work most fitting for an electronic or prog-rock album. Other works that would also function as album covers are Laveta Kirby’s surreal-like Redwings Moon which might seem fitting for a Pink Floyd album while John Padour’s Jitterbug — a dilapidated road register a rural setting—could be the quilt art for a John Mellencamp album.

Susan Wolfe’s Into the Night and therefore the Voices I Hear are two vibrant works because of her bold use of color. When viewing Wolfe’s work, the condition of synesthesia involves the mind where some people experience seeing colors and patterns when being attentive to music. And Lois Stone through her use of pale colors and bold brushstrokes gives us an abstract view of a musical clef and musical notes that appear to be floating within the ether, able to be captured by some composer on a music sheet.

Two works during this exhibition express how art and music address social justice issues. Joe Fournier’s minimalist drawing of poet-singer could be a gestural work that expresses the emotional impact this folksinger had on his audience when singing about social change. The symbiosis between these two art forms reflects the influence of 1 medium on the opposite.



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