ARThound

Geneva Anderson digs into art

“Tree Talk”—artist María Elena González’ scores for the player piano from the markings on birch bark, at Mills, Saturday January 26, 2019

María Elena González, Skowhegan Birch #2, 2014. Player piano roll.

Inspired by her time in nature and exploring translation between the physical and the acoustical, Cuban-American artist María Elena González’ exhibit, “Tree Talk,” opens at Mills College Art Museum on January 26, 2019.  “Tree Talk,” a series of work developed over 10 years, investigates the unexpected visual parallels between the bark of birch trees and cylindrical player piano rolls.  In 2005, when González spent the summer as a resident faculty member at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine, she often spent time taking in the beauty of the trees.  After creating rubbings from several birches, she began to zero in on the bark’s striations which resembled notations.  Using a digital scanner, she scanned the patterns from the flattened bark of three birch trees found at the Skowhegan school and laser cut the resulting score onto a player piano roll.  Each tree yielded unique “compositions” for the player piano.  These are sculptural works that combine graphic art, musical composition and performance.  On February 7, a live performance will take place featuring Mills music students using drawings of the tree bark as graphic scores.  The exhibition also features related drawings, prints, videos, and sound installations, demonstrating González’ interest in both representations of sound as well as sound as a sculptural material.

Saturday, January 26, 2019:  Opening Reception: Tree Talk

5-7pm, Mills College Art Museum
Facebook Event  Join MCAM and María Elena González  in celebrating the opening of this exquisite exhibition. Refreshments will be provided.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019:  Performance: Tree Talk: Variations on Impression

7pm, Mills College Art Museum
Facebook Event

Marc Zollinger, John Ivers, and Dirt and Copper will perform works generated from María Elena González’ birch tree rubbings.  In collaboration with González, the composers translate the visual, gestural, and topographic data found in the tree rubbings into scores that will be premiered at the event.  This transmission of information from optical to aural entails synesthesia: the phenomena by which the stimulation of one sensory receptor, such as vision, activates a secondary sensory reaction, such as hearing.  Each re-composition approaches the visual material in a variety of ways, from strict graphical interpretations to differing conceptions of growth-time.

About the Artist:
María Elena González is a Cuban-American artist best known for her sculptural installations informed by architecture and personal experience.  In 1999, she received widespread acclaim for her site-specific sculpture “Magic Carpet/Home,” commissioned by the Public Art Fund that took the floor plan of a Red Hook apartment building and transformed it into a wavy flying carpet, with playground surface material. In a 2002 installation at the Bronx Museum of Art, titled “Mnemonic Architecture,” she did a full-size recreation of the layout of her childhood home from memory, creating a sculptural dialogue with the architecture of her memory.  She has been a visiting critic in Sculpture at the Yale University School of Art, a resident faculty member at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and a visiting artist faculty member at The Cooper Union.

Currently, she is Chair of the Sculpture Department at the San Francisco Art Institute and on the Board of Governors at Skowhegan.  She is also the recipient of numerous grants and awards including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, the Prix de Rome, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Details:  “Tree Talk” is January 26 – March 17, 2019.  Mills College Art Museum is located at 5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland CA  94613.  Hours: Tues-Sun 11am to 4 pm, Wed 11 am to 7:30 pm.  Closed Monday.  Admission is free for all exhibits and programs, unless noted.  For more information:  www.mcam.mills.edu

 

January 22, 2019 - Posted by | Art | , , , , , , ,

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