Sound and Vision sets tone for season of multidisciplinary shows

Brad Bolton performs the godbass, on view in Sound and Vision.

An exhibition of non-traditional musical instruments presents a new view at Heights Arts this fall. Sound and Vision, which opens with a public reception on Friday, Sept. 1, and will be on view through Sunday, Oct. 15, brings together a variety of instruments built or owned by local, regional, and national instrument builders and tinkerers.

Ranging from a custom-painted cello to hand-built modular synthesizers and unusual items, such as the Marxolin Aqua Lin, the instruments on display in Sound and Vision challenge the notion of what musical instruments are in the first place. Exhibition contributors include Brad Bolton, Anne Cole, Bbob Drake, Mike Hovancsek, Walt Mahovlich, David Russell Stempowski, and Karl Vorndran.

“For hundreds of years, musical instruments have been designed to please both the eye and the ear," noted composer and sound artist Christopher Auerbach-Brown, who curated the exhibition. "Instruments such as violins and celli, woodwind and brass instruments, and keyboard instruments like the piano and pipe organ have been created for both immaculate sound production and overall visual appeal. The 20th century saw an expansion of the definition of the term 'musical instrument' to include more radical and experimental designs incorporating new, unusual and even dangerous components. Inventions such as the telharmonium, fire organ, and synthesizer; innovations in audio recording technology; and the embracing of the concept that music can be created with any object at hand—all of these have greatly expanded concepts of what defines music, how music is performed, and how it is preserved for posterity. Hopefully this exhibition will undermine visitors’ assumptions and encourage them to explore music that exists outside of their comfort zone."

Two public programs accompany the exhibition. The community is invited to hear Sound and Vision exhibition contributors talk about their musical instruments (and perhaps demonstrate their unique qualities) at Ekphastacy: Artists Talk + Poets Respond on Thursday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., in the gallery. Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Christine Howey has invited area poets to respond in verse to their choice of instruments on view. On Saturday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m., the popular Cleveland acoustic instrumental ensemble Trepanning Trio will perform a free gallery concert.

Ornamental Containment, a series of new monotypes by artist-member Deborah Pinter, will be showcased in the spotlight gallery beginning Friday, Sept. 15. Employing the compositional restraints of a circular format on square paper, Pinter continues her exploration of directly creating prints from natural elements such as leaves, branches and stones, which are added in layers to create a positive/negative rhythm. All are invited to meet Pinter and learn more about her work at the opening reception on Sept. 15, 6–9 p.m.

For more information, as well as a complete listing of the nonprofit arts organization's events and gallery shop programs, visit or call 216-371-3457.

Mary Ryan

Mary Ryan is on staff at Heights Arts, a nonprofit community arts organization.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 1:07 PM, 08.28.2017