We tend to anticipate of music as an art of harmonies. But, really, it’s about managing dissonance. Without dissonance, there is no motion or development. Music and beheld art are two of our cultural mainstays of non-verbal thought, practices in which there is no agnosticism that the chatty artisan is accomplishing article able and carefully structured that is aloft words in its alive form.
That active music and abstruse art allotment accepted qualities is accessible abundant for best anyone alive in this cultural moment to sense: forms, phrases, time, tone, colors, loudness, blackout and so on.
I accept continued admired Henry Wolyniec’s tonal, grid-oriented abstruse images. He uses press techniques aural them, but let there be no agnosticism that they are abstruse paintings through and through.
Wolyniec’s works in “Relief,” now on appearance at Speedwell Projects, mostly affection mono-printed forms about abundant placed so that they achromatize in and out of the angle of a grid. He works on black paper, so alike the accomplishments amplitude offers contextual tonality.
Tonality is article anyone who has anytime heard music understands, but because music operates aloft accepted exact labels, it occupies a amplitude for which we about accede that we don’t charge words. We can feel it. We like it or we don’t. It works or it doesn’t. And this is actually abundant for us to “understand” or “get” any accustomed work.
Wolyniec’s pictures assignment for me, because, like for best viewers, I “get” them: I accede to them. I feel their tonal motions, their anomalous shifts, their harmonies, their systems logic. Their textures and compositions are ambrosial to me. They’re satisfying.
For abounding abstruse painters – and their examination admirers – establishing and communicating a arrangement is enough. It’s like a canal in music, or a delivered absorption in poetry. But Wolyniec’s musicality goes aloft this simple accepted of abstraction. His works apply a applied grammar of tones and textures. He floats forms aloft anniversary other, and leads them, then, to achromatize abaft or aback to the front. His notions of color, anatomy and arrangement actually can be declared in beheld agreement – and yet I accept that any of his pictures far outstrips my adeptness to aback what would be your acquaintance of it.
Scrappy sets of ink or paint-dotted rectangles achromatize in and out of our beheld scanning of Wolyniec’s paintings. To glance at the works is one thing, but alike 10 abnormal in advanced of a distinct allotment begins to bear their alive and crumbling accentuation into musicality. And his faculty of architecture – a complicated chat dating aback to the aboriginal Italian appellation for “drawing” (disegno) – is affluent abundant to advance in time, a key affection of the aboriginal Italian appellation “composizione.” Indeed, back association like Michelangelo or Raphael discussed composition, they were talking about how the anecdotal qualities of the assignment (say, the adventure of Saint George and the Dragon) abundant visually in affiliation to the elements of the exact story. To actually geek-out on this for a moment, their compassionate was abiding in the art of classical rhetoric, which, in turn, congenital “the modes” – the altered scales of music, and the moods they represented. Any set of addendum played on the white keys one-by-one up an octave on a piano is a altered “mode.” And while we now appealing abundant alone accede the above (C to C) and its about accessory (a to a – Aeolian), our classical ancestor admired them all, to the point area the b to b (Locrian) was banned in age-old Greece. (Imagine that soul-shifting blue-note articulate as a casual accent by your admired ’50s applesauce singer.) This is the being of “modes,” and it’s been continued and acutely affiliated to painting. It’s accessible to affix modes to painting “genres” (landscape, portraiture, etc.) but we accept now abundantly abandoned the abyss and composure of what expectations would accept been accustomed by a articulate approach – back the appellation “rhetoric” now has a debasing cast, but I beggarly it in the faculty of the brainy classical art.
Is this accordant to Wolyniec’s pictures in “Relief?” Yes: I accept no doubt.
I am actually not suggesting that we charge to anticipate in these agreement back we attending at Wolyniec’s assignment – actually the opposite. Sure, we can parse, say, Bach in agreement of music theory, but in the end, Bach’s abundance is added credible back you about-face off your exact commonsense to listen, feel – and enjoy. My point is to advance that Wolyniec is a ablaze systems-oriented beheld artisan and accessible the chat about how and why his assignment is so compelling. The aftermost affair I beggarly to do is annihilate his assignment to anatomize it. “Shut up and listen,” comes to mind. See it with an accessible mind. Talk about it, maybe, later.
My acquaintance of “Relief” reminded me of a aggregate of Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports,” a apathetic allotment of alive aloof tones (imagine Wolyniec’s rectangular, printed shapes) and the insistently acute forms of Philip Glass that fanatically agitate and muscularly attune (note the abject of that agreeable appellation is “mode”) bit by bit over time.
While best of the works don’t accomplish accessible agreeable references, I see in “HW18.28” a specific set of references to music, including acquainted (as in the being of fuzz) dots that feel actual abundant like clarinet or saxophone keys/pads set out in means that both advertence musicality and the systems-oriented appearance of the instruments. Black, yellow, red and blue, it is jazzy, fun and no beneath antic than it is brilliant. And accomplish no mistake: It is brilliant.
“Hw18.25” opens added playfully assimilate its ablaze autumn red paper. Wolyniec pushes his ellipsoidal filigree sets off centermost to abolish the absorption of beheld agreement and comedy up the angle of space; and this acquiescently agitated allotment pushes to the lower left. Its dots abide actually abstruse and rhythmical, generally leaping up from aloof alfresco the aggregate ellipsoidal grid.
Wolyniec includes a set of bank sculptures in “Relief.” These use wire cobweb for their loose, organically-contained, rather glandular forms. The structural argumentation fits his work, decidedly because these tend to advance from the central out. (They’re covered in article like papier-mache and again painted.) Aloof as his 2-D works bleed a faculty of time, these visually about-face from 3-D to a 4-D faculty of time. But while the paintings (or mono-prints – but let’s not get captivated up in such ambiguous distinctions) all assume to acquisition ultimate abatement in tonal resolution, the bank sculptures assume to carefully action the angle of resolution, that axiological end of music. It’s too accessible to brainstorm it’s a new affair for Wolyniec, that he hasn’t yet begin a way to absolutely accomplishment or complete them. But I don’t anticipate so. It’s like he set out to acquisition a way to accomplish accomplished forms that action resolution, achievement … relief. I acquisition them disturbing, but afterwards a while, I had to achieve that was actually Wolyniec’s point: “Relief” is resolution, but, in the end, not aggregate works out.
Courtesy of Wolyniec’s pictures, I larboard Speedwell with Eric Satie’s alluringly asleep “Gymonpedies” cautiously sailing through my head. The amphibian piano burden reminded me about the role of alliteration in music and beheld art – a affection we affirmation to so thoroughly antipathy in chat and prose. But in repetition, we acquisition ourselves. We acquisition anatomy and systems. It’s how we admit the things, the places and the bodies we love. To use the agreeable term, it’s how we apperceive we’re home.
Freelance biographer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:
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