Monday, January 20, 2014

DRAW 2014: An International Drawing Symposium

Eurhythmics for Visual Artists?

I have been invited to present two sessions at an International Drawing Symposium at Carnegie Mellon School of Art this coming March and I think it is a pretty exciting prospect. 

It seems that the more years I spend in the Eurhythmics classroom, the more I have decided that the truest lessons being taught are not specifically or, rather, exclusively musical in nature. They are touching on themes more global than music-specific. These are lessons in artistry. 

Please don't mis-quote me....The undergraduate Eurhythmics curriculum at Carnegie Mellon School of Music is absolutely first and foremost about musicianship. This term speaks to the inner performer as much as the audible performer. We are interested in making the abstract concepts of music and musicianship concrete. We use the body in motion as a model and pull many truths out of the experience. 

The exciting thing over these years has been to discover more and more truths and to see just how far reaching they are. Thus began my interest in all things trans- and inter-disciplinary.  

The lessons we work through to be better musicians, have, in most all cases, parallels in the other fine arts. Not only are there parallels with the fine arts, but there are parallels all around us. 

We work in the Eurhythmics classroom to make the musical notes on the page transition into artful experience. These same lessons or lines of thought can also be applied to our understanding of the stage drama, or the choreography, the hall of architecture, the painting, or the conversations with friends, and even the way we make our morning eggs.

As the musical performer, there are levels of performance experience that, as mastered, can lead one to the artful. The first question to start asking when trying to apply the same lessons to the rest of lived experience is: "What is performing?"

March 1st I will get two shots to convince a room full of visual artists that they are involved in the act of performance as a drawer and as a viewer of drawings. I am planning on 
a hands on, pencils down, look at the aesthetics of drawing. 

How many ways can you judge a drawing? In the end, it only matters if it performs for you. In these sessions, we will look for ways to reveal/notice/understand the inherent gesture in drawings. Or, stated more simply, through subtle shifts of attention, we will search for the ways that a drawing might “perform” for the artist or observer.  


I do not have it all worked out just yet, but I am thinking about contrasts, or heavy and light. 

Why do some paintings draw us in while others leave us feeling flat? why do some experiences feel like music and other experiences of music leave us feeling unchanged?

There must be some interaction with the art for it to make an impact. 
Where does the interaction occur? [either in the content, or in the culture, or in the met or broken expectations, or in the relationship with the artist, or in the colors, etc….] 

How many layers, or levels of interaction might there be? counterpoint? While we can see a background and a foreground in the picture, can one feel a  background and a foreground?