T. Nikki Cesare - 2004
"Dimensions of Home: The Music
of John Luther Adams and the Artwork of Claire Seidl"
The International Contemporary Ensemble
and Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Art, April 8
Notions of home play in abstract swipes across Claire Seidl's paintings, coming slightly more into focus in the domestically inclined images of backyards, screen doors and little girls playing with sparklers. The light that appears seemingly of its own accord suggests the slow passage of time in the familial hours of summer dusk. This same slowness of time is reflected in the sonic landscapes of John Luther Adams, music, which creates a warm space around the audience that belies the Alaskan scenery that inspires it.
None of this, however, allows for the audience to relax into the spectoral and auditory experience. Rather, these panoramas of daily life inspire movement through them, much like light's shimmering movement across the ice. Though the diatonic "cloud music" of The Light that Fills the World, which reminds the listener of Adams' monumental 90-minute In the White Silence for string orchestra and octet, creates a meditational space of audition, the sharpness of the snare drum solos brings the audience back to the frigid landscape like the breaking of the ice in spring.
Though Seidl's photographs always suggest a presence, her paintings, like Adams' compositions, often create a space either without a figure or with a figure veiled from direct view. It is into this space that the audience member steps, filling an absence as if crossing a threshold. In both the visual and aural experiences of this Sound/Image Event, the artist and composer re-create the space of their own homes throught their work, inviting the audience member to make her way through it at her own pace.