Belfast Telegraph

Art: Images will bring music to your eyes

A pale yellow sky is the title of a collaboration between artist jean duncan and musician deirdre mckay the results of which are currently on show in the naughton gallery, at queen's university.

A pale yellow sky is the title of a collaboration between artist jean duncan and musician deirdre mckay the results of which are currently on show in the naughton gallery, at queen's university.

For some years now Jean Duncan has been interested in the concept of creating images inspired by music.

In 1994 she produced The Protecting Veil, a series of etchings and projected images based on the music of John Taverner. This was followed by Still Dancers, created in response to Piers Hellawell's music.

Finally, in 2002, came The Fly, which again involved Deirdre McKay and was based on William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience.

This time, however, the collaboration of art and music was to be quite different. Inspired by the Japanese haiku - short poetic pieces written to strict rules which dictate, amongst other things, 17 syllables - this was not to be simply a response of either to the other, but rather a complete creation with artist and composer working almost as one, with the words of each haiku focusing their thoughts.

The results combine ethereal music, produced by the harp, with refined, sparse imagery, which together create an intense, almost palpable, calmness.

There is a very real sense of oneness between the three elements - the words, the images and the music. As Jean says, "both of our media used the same vocabulary - balance, colour, timbre, tone, texture and harmony - while reflecting our separate approaches to the poems".

Jean's images are mysterious, dreamlike and ambiguous, while the notes of Deirdre's compositions float in "a sensory, timbral exploration of the natural".

This is more than an exhibition - it is a sensory experience, something to be approached with eyes, ears and every other sense open and responsive.

It is something different, something sad, reflective, joyous, emotive and delightful, all at the same time. Whether you like it or hate it , you are unlikely to leave the gallery unmoved.



Liz Baird

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