These works are focused on the instrument of the piano and the patterns and rhythm found in its form, the music it creates and the relationship between pianist and piano. As someone who has been playing the piano for many years, the piano is intriguing to explore as an art theme in which the concept of sound and its visual representation can be developed and manipulated into artistic work.
My exhibited work is linked through numerous concepts. Although the piano is the principal notion that connects my work, additional elements including pattern, rhythm, shape, contrast and line are all interlinked within each of my pieces. Through these, different aspects of the piano is explored. An untraditional way of looking at the piano is through the lens of chaos and destruction, which can be seen in The Performance. Inspired by John Perceval’s “Soul Singer at Luna Park”, it explores personal anxiety and pressure to perform. Similarly, Deteriorated Reflection explores chaos associated with the destruction of a piano due to time. Both of these works are linked by the concept of turmoil explored by the principles of contrast associated with the keys and the use of reflection to create a disjointed composition.
Patterns are further featured in pieces looking at the beauty of the piano. In several pieces, such as ff, The Pianola, and Solitary Intimacy, decorative designs have been used to visually represent sound. Taking inspiration from a neurological condition called synaesthesia, where sounds can be seen as colours, these patterns symbolise my own interpretation of piano music and its rhythm. However, the speed in these pieces varies, with ff representing a loud and exploding sound and creating tension, while in Solitary Intimacy, it is more static and calm. More patterns are seen in the pianola roll featured in The Pianola and In the House of the Pianist. Similarly, Memory, a dedicated piece for my grandmother, uses a collage of sheet music to connect her and her musicality, again using patterns and rhythm visually.
Contrast and lines are utilised throughout my collection to create an emphasis on the patterns found on the physical piano. Within the relief print Transcendency I utilised the elements and principles of line, shape, contrast, pattern and rhythm to depict the ideas of life, growth, music and the piano, symbolising how ingrained music is in human life and development. The straight lines of the keys are also contrasted against the irregular shape of the leaves. Juxtaposition is also used in The Mini Musician, which focuses on form and scale. Utilising juxtaposed scale, I aimed to enhance viewers visual experience with a work that plays with the aspect of size.
Lastly, the form of the piano was explored through sheet music and the cassette. The piece Music Can Be Found Anywhere transforming sheet music into 3 dimensions. This sculpture using found objects explores the movement of the notes in sheet music, and again utilises patterns to convey this. Furthermore, the form of the piano is not limited to the instrument, but also includes how piano songs are heard. I wanted to use The Death of the Cassette as a means to explore the cultural and technological impact this device had on how we now listen to the piano in a modern world.
The layout of the exhibition was designed to give the viewer a journey through the wide range of emotions and rhythms found in music and the piano. Contrasting themes were placed beside each other to emphasise the versatility of these emotions. For example, Transcendency and The Death of the Cassette focus on life and death respectively and are completely opposite. Similarly, the two pieces focusing on chaos (Deteriorated Reflection and The Performance) are contrasted against the calm pieces of Memory and In the House of the Pianist. Altogether, these pieces create a world surrounding the piano, focusing on a range of topics, from life and beauty to death and chaos, all of which can be linked to the pianist and their relationship with the piano, based off of my own experiences. Although it is a static exhibition, the elements of pattern, line and contrast were heavily used to convey the rhythm and movement found in music.