This group exhibition showcases artworks that were created after, and under, the influence of music and text. The exhibition title refers to electric guitarist Steve Vai’s iconic album “The History of Light”. Works were chosen for their aesthetics and gestures that lie beyond the retinal pleasure of the surface image. The Sound of Light suggests wave matter that transcends beyond optical. The artists have channeled sound waves and the influence of music and trance to mark-make (Mu), spray visual noise or static onto surface (Vao), create performances that contain themselves posthumously onto canvas (L’Atlas), and chance images given a driving text or narrative (Tsibakhashvili).
Steve Vai’s text “Martian Love Secrets” prescribes a musical meditation whilst conceiving original thought: stringing a few chords together to help represent your state of mind. This metaphor for making music also relates to the practice of mark-making by these artists. Xue Mu’s practice examines the power of abstraction over figuration. Mu’s Black Diamond series is abstraction born from a state of trance, whereby the artist hysterically scratches charcoal and rubs her fingers over paper, leaving debris of carbon and skin cells on the surface to create texture. Conversely, works from Mu’s Perpendicular Spontaneity series were made in a reflective state of mind. Quiet arrangements that suggest a sort of meditative stock-taking. These arrangements are delicately captured on camera and then monumentalized, carefully and painstakingly pulled into large scale pristine prints using a high-tech process which involves collaborators to help handle a print of this size.
Street artist L’Atlas meditates upon the hustle and bustle of politics and culture within an urban environment, creating peace and order through his works entitled Structure. Repeatedly painting variations of the same lines for all his artistic career, he makes canvases of painterly and mathematical perfection, accuracy and gloss, reminding us of the artist Roman Ondak counting the minutes of his life down through painting sequential numeric time on canvas. L’Atlas’s work is performance on the street captured by photography or video, and, most importantly, captured on canvas. Tanc Vao creates music on canvas, influenced by breaking beats as an electronic DJ. A fission oscillates in Vao’s work, a solstice inspired by a violent or passionate emotion and executed with precise control of spray paint. Guram Tsibakhashvili created his own random hybrid world with photographs created in 1991 using a split frame camera, which allowed the artist to record two images on what would normally be one frame of film. This made it impossible to control which pairs were put together. Below each image is a quote from Alice in Wonderland in Georgian, which also serves as the title for the photographs. The artist made twenty photographs in this series, shooting according to his own unknown sequence and meditation of expression.