One of my pre-occupations is an exploration of how the sounds I hear can be visualised.
Having spent years studying and playing from musical scores it is second nature for me to hear music as I look at the notations laid out on the page – just as you hear the words in your head as you read. In both these cases looking triggers an aural response. This cross-over of looking/hearing really interests me.
One drawing that I keep coming back to is by Paul Klee – Cooling in a Garden of the Torrid Zone. Klee was as good a musician as he was an artist and he could play the violin as well as he could paint. Common to many of his drawings and paintings, regardless of their theme, is a sense of visual rhythm and movement. In Cooling in a Garden of the Torrid Zone the page is divided by horizonatal lines that are not unlike staves in a musical score, onto these lines are hung different, repeated signs and characters that are like the notes of a musical bar.
The rhythmical structure of this work is obviously musical. This is what it says about Klee’s use of rhythm in Paul Klee -The Nature of Creation (the catalogue from the Hayward Gallery exhibition in 2002). I have found it very useful:
‘Repetitive divisions alone do not constitute a rhythm, and the regular repetition of an individual mark simply renders it indistinguishable … in order to perceive something as rhythmic, a balance has to be set up between a regular element and irregularities …. only through this tension can a repetitive structure be perceived as rhythmic.’
I am making a piece of work at the moment that has been inspired by Cooling in a Garden of the Torrid Zone it includes regular repetitions, syncopated overlappings and a few irregularities! It is well on the way to being finished – pictures soon.