Ice Covered Tree

Ice Covered Tree

An ice covered tree in winter seems ablaze in radiant light. Artist Jerry Langell does an amazing job with the color blue in his digital treatment of an Oroville, California tree in winter. That we do not see the base of the tree, but rather that it emerges from blackness, sets a mysterious tone to the piece. Without doubt there is some ambiguity here, some mystery about the origin of this blazing white labyrinth. We are full of wonder at the energy drawn from this natural source (the ice) through artistic license. There are several ways to go with abstracting an ice covered tree. The artist can zoom into the ice itself and emphasize the variations of texture and reflection. But in this case the artist studies external projections of energy by the ice. His representation of that energy with a shimmering shade of blue that sets off beautifully from the deeper blue of the sky is very satisfying. But perhaps the artist suggests something entirely unnatural. Some invisible power has bathed the tree in a blinding electrical charge. Perhaps this perception ties more directly with the mysterious tone set by pitch black origins at the bottom of the canvas. We could easily suspect some haunting afoot. Ghosts and spirits have taken possession. We do not get a sense of evil, however, but rather of a benificent supernatural energy that is attracted and attaches to objects in nature. Composer Stohgs succeeds in conveying the electrical energy of the painting, particularly with the introduction of a static tinged, quacking synth. But really the entire groove suggests the vibration of energized...
Oroville Winter Storm

Oroville Winter Storm

The winter storm takes many forms. Blinding blizzard of snow. Freezing water born on howling wind. Barren branches, helpless victims, sway precariously, threaten to break, and oftimes do. Wind and freezing rain is the likely scenario for the Oroville, California winter storm which inspires this treated photograph by artist Jerry Langell. But Langell’s storm is about more than a winter confluence of natural elements. It is about a sense of ghostly possession, of death’s seasonal reign, a palpable charge of negative, repellant energy. It is a hostile spirit taking over trees, all of nature, so vulnerable without foliage or the nurture of sunshine. Composer Laszlo Benko highlites in his audio track a unique energy which we can associate with the storm. It is perhaps more positive than we might expect in mood. The wasp buzz effect speaks of a energetic charge that seems to saturate the mist. His pentatonic phrases might suggest a more remote location for our enchanted tree, or perhaps we are invited to ponder this wonder of nature from an Eastern, more contemplative perspective. The current project is an entry in the 2016 Midisparks Winter Composers Contest. The theme of the contest is abstraction in nature, and particularly in Winter. We invite you to cast your vote for Oroville Winter Storm. Prints of the artwork are available in the Yessy Gallery and we invite you also to visit at the Yessy site by clicking on the ‘Shop’...
Upwelling of Melted Ice

Upwelling of Melted Ice

How do you spell amoeba? It seems the right first question here. For the upwelling of melted ice has the amorphous characteristic of the single-celled blobs typcially found beneath the ocean. And truly, without the title’s clue, we might not be making any associations with ice at all. The extreme closup conceals the subject of a gaping, jagged hole formed by melting ice in an otherwise frozen surface. Closeups in nature often succeed in abstracting the subjects and such is the case here. Beyond Burt’s artistic meanderings on conventional and not-so-conventional guitars (including cigar-box guitars), his creativity frequently extends into the realm of natural sound effects. His introduction here of wintry wind and bubbling waters is not in your face, but subtle, well integrated into the mix and the feeling of his laid back and reflective track. Nevertheless, it solidifies the connection of the audio with the visual image, rooted in assumptions of cold climate along with some progression between solid and liquid states – melted...
Eros and Psyche Abstract

Eros and Psyche Abstract

What possible relationship can we find between the abstract art and audio of Elize Kaisser and the story of Eros and Psyche? Musical commentary on painting generally offers narrative, or ambience, historical or cultural reference, or literal sound effects. In the case of abstract art, the music often expresses the composer’s emotional response to the painting. Elements in the myth narrative of jealousy, desire, hiddenness and subterfuge seem to imply dark colors and a brooding emotional quality for the artist/composer. To sum up the myth: Eros was the son of Aphrodite. His Roman, and more familiar name, was Cupid. Psyche was a mortal princess who was so stunning the people of Greece began comparing her beauty to the goddess of love, Aphrodite. Aphrodite became jealous of this so she sent her son, Eros, to shoot her with one of her arrows while she slept and place a foul creature in front of her to fall in love with when she woke. Eros could not bring himself to do this but accidentally scratched himself with an arrow and in turn fell in love with Psyche. Eros then steals Psyche away to a palace, but does not reveal himself to Psyche and only is in her presence in the total darkness of night. Psyche is happy for a time until her sisters visit and persuade her to light a lamp while her lover is around so that she may see his face. Eros leaves her after this and after many trials Psyche goes on a quest to please Eros’ mother Aphrodite. After completing the task Psyche is granted immortality and allowed...
Teranova 3

Teranova 3

Teranova means New Earth. Your blogger’s narrative for this painting, however, is about the onset of deep sleep. Perhaps it is Teranova in the sense of sleep’s gift of renewal. The circle of blue is the thoughts which accompany us as we lay down to sleep. They swirl around gently, slowing and slowing as we sooth ourselves in bed with prayers of gratitude, thoughts of forgiveness for self and others. In the painting, lines of blue and purple push upward and leftward against this swirling circle of thought. Like hormonal secretions of melatonin, these lines push against consciousness, against pain, and into a cottony bed of oblivion, like the white cottony section of Danijela’s canvas. Danijela herself offers an alternative explanation: “When you meditate in relation with the earth you become different, but the earth is changing also-through meditation becomes a new earth and a new man…Blue is the color of spiritual and red color symbolizes the remnants of the material.” It seems the dream of sleep corresponds to the artists notion of meditation. Both can be catalysts for change, as they reveal insights from a deeper consciousness. It is fitting that the red, the remnant, exists in the bottom right of the canvas. With the artist’s words, we see evolution, even directional flow in the painting. From the material, the red patches, we transition to lines of purple (towards the spiritual) and then into the full spirituality and revelation of the blue. Danijela also contributes the project’s audio component. Succumb to trance. Breathe the air. Feel the energy. Let go of the material, of the painting’s red. Make...
Teranova 1

Teranova 1

Serbian artist Danijela Jovic paints a dense cluster of colorful, tubelike strands. There appears to be some struggle, some striving. Individual strands have emerged. They assert themselves, reaching upwards to connect with sisters above. Danijela’s abstract speaks to the process of creation, an evolution from chaos to order. Perhaps the assertive tubes reach not to sisters above, but to a physical manifestation of their Creator. What is this dense cluster? We might imagine purple sea urchins clustered about a golden yellow formation of kelp. We might imagine a cluster of dahlia tubers resting upon a seabed. The nature of the tuber might be instructive to our understanding of the painting. Tubers are enlarged structures in some plant species used as storage organs for nutrients. They are used for the plant’s perennation (survival of the winter or dry months), to provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season, and as a means of asexual reproduction (Rooting cuttings of tropical trees, London: Commonwealth Science Council, 1993, p. 11, ISBN 978-0-85092-394-0). Like tubers, Danijela’s otherworldly, tubelike strands contain the pent-up stuff of creation. They hold the raw material and potential for physical generation. The independence dance of the tuber cluster is underway! They stretch. They flex. They prepare for the hop and the drop. This seems to be the joyful message conveyed through appropriately alien sounding tones in the brilliant audio track by Urezy. The intonation of the strands is frightful and joyful simultaneously. It is somewhere between a lion’s growl and a buddhist monk’s chant. ‘Let us reach for the sky’ The music speaks of joyful competition. The...
New Earth IV

New Earth IV

Danijela’s abstract painting, rich in earth tones, roughly divides the canvas into three emotional areas. Left and lower edges feel foundational. The yellows and browns, if not serene, feel stable. Leaning into this southwest bed, a low grade turmoil of red and orange lines, black and brown swashes, and a bold blue swirl. This central bit of canvas is in process. Something grows, evolves from this mass of subtly competing shapes and colors, perhaps not for the good. And what of the great swash of white that possesses the northeast corner of the canvas and seems ready to inundate the rest of the painting like a relentless ocean wave? The mindhiest58 track might be understood (probably coincidentally) in terms of the painting’s segmentations. The rich bed of chorus, harpsichord and harps, on the one hand gently reflective, also foreshadows ensuing conflict. The anvil strikes. It is the “end of the dawn” (did I get this line right Roland?) Texture thickens. The battle drum strikes. The guns fire. We are in the thick of the conflict – the fomenting center of the abstract. It is most difficult to reconcile the audio narrative with the blogger’s notion of the painting’s third segment – the great white wave which seems poised to demolish all. In fact the musical track resolves back to the contemplative mood of the beginning and this suggests a different function for the northeast corner of the painting. It does not represent the final, ultimate aggression. Rather, it offers a cottony cushion which serves to absorb at least some of the central section’s tumultous energy. Or it is the...
The Lion

The Lion

If I were an abstract crouching lion, I would certainly want my supporting audio track to suggest either my roar, or my jungle, or both. At the very least, I would hope for a certain strength, a certain tension, a certain wildness. It would be an entirely different matter if the artist had not named the painting The Lion. If that were the case, interpretive options would likely multiply. Then perhaps the composer sees not a crouching lion but a Christmas tree, or a table in a French cafe, and musical decisions would run apace. But the fact is our artist named the painting. For some of us, at least, a deference to that specification of subject creates an imperative which guides creative choices. Therefore the audio does in fact include obligatory native grunts, a sort of abstract jungle ambience, and a sustained tension. The painting by Serbian artist and composer Danijela Jovik is ambiguous not only for its abstraction. If we do embrace the figurative premise of a lion, we must then wonder if the lion rests or prepares to pounce. The latter scenario seems more likely since the hind is elevated, the stomach raised, the head attentive. The audio however does not seem to weigh in on the question of the lion’s intentions. We are fortunate to be showing several abstract paintings by Danijela on the site. They are all included in the competition set for the Midisparks Winter Composers Contest. We hope you will keep up with the progress of the contest. Vote early. Vote often! We hope also you will consider purchasing a print. These...