“Songs out of Sight” reflect my ongoing interest and love for music. The paintings in the series combine many of the conceptual and formal considerations I have pursued over the years. The titles of the paintings, such as “A Kind of Blue: In C,” is borrowed from the seminal music of trumpeter Miles Davis that was recorded in the early 60’s. The titles are not only honorific but also reflect a conviction that painting’s historical ties to music continue to generate a link to the visual language of the painting object; not only as visual metaphor but as an instance of a synesthetic relationship to sound, color, and the imagination. Along with this is a conviction and belief that the dialogue that this approach attempts to attain with its viewers can effectively generate a response (poetry, music, literature, etc.) that has a direct one to one correspondence to what resides in the work itself.
One example of this approach is the micro –fiction narratives (one hundred words or less!)by author Matt Bell. Matt Bell approached me in 2004 about the possibility of writing a series of micro-fiction that reflected his response to what he saw in the paintings. We agreed that he would have sole responsibility, with no input from me, to write a micro-fiction for a painting or painting’s of his choosing. I have included one of his micro-fictions along with the painting that generated his narrative here at the bottom of this page.
A Kind of Blue: In C
55in x 77in
AFTER A KIND OF BLUE: IN C"
A micro-fiction by Matt Bell
The last day of Johnson’s life, a woman walked into the piano lounge and sat beside him, placing something blue before him. Later, we couldn’t agree what it was, whether it was a shape, a thought, perhaps only the shadow of a memory. I thought I saw a key, but maybe not. Whatever it was, Johnson only smiled and returned it politely. After the woman left, Johnson went onstage and sung the blues, all wrong, but the best I’d ever heard.
Who cares what it all meant. A beautiful woman, a secret, one last song-- We should all die so well.