The News Service
September 10 through October 30
Bell Gallery begins year with Joe Diebes: Song of Transformation
The David Winton Bell Gallery, located on the first floor of List Art Center, 64 College St., will open its 2005-06 season with two installations by composer and artist Joe Diebes. Joe Diebes: Song of Transformation will run from Sept. 10 through Oct. 30, 2005. An opening reception with a lecture by the artist begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, in the List Auditorium.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University will present Joe Diebes: Song of Transformation from Sept. 10 through Oct. 30, 2005. An opening reception, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a lecture by the artist, will be held Friday, Sept. 9, in the List Art Center Auditorium.
The exhibition includes two sculptural sound installations by composer and artist Joe Diebes. Conceived as companion pieces, Sound Field (2003) and Aviary (2004) speak to a confluence of nature and technology, which the artist views as neither progressive nor pernicious. “I’m imagining a division of reality into the fabricated world in which we live and some kind of natural environment that precedes it,” Diebes said. Sound Field was commissioned by MATA (Music at the Anthology) for its 2003 festival, and Aviary by the College Art Association for the 2004 exhibition Suspension: Sonic Absorption. They are shown together for the first time at the Bell Gallery.
Each installation includes sculptural objects in combination with continually changing audio elements. Visually minimal, Aviary presents seven white birdcages suspended throughout a large white room. Digitally manipulated birdcalls emanate from the empty cages, each cage emitting a separate sound track. The viewer, walking through the gallery, hears different calls in differing combinations. “Nature is transported indoors,” said Bell Gallery Director Jo-Ann Conklin, “and modified by technology.”
Using a similar set of elements, Sound Field presents a world that is literally and metaphorically darker. In contrast to bird songs, the audio in Sound Field is made up of sine tones and white noise in Morse code. Viewers enter a darkened room in which black silk sunflowers grow from a lawn of black Astroturf. Small beams of light hitting the faces of the sunflowers provide the only illumination, as sine tones and white noise call out from the flowers. Diebes describes the sound as an “aggregate sonic cloud through which something raw and primal has been reconstituted from elements that are sterile and controlled.”
Diebes studied literature and philosophy at Yale University, graduating in 1995. His varied musical studies range from classes at the Juilliard School to private sessions with pioneering sound artist and composer La Monte Young. From 1996 to 2003, he was an artist member of, and the musical force behind, GAle GAtes et al., an art and performance company based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Peter Marks of the New York Times described GAle GAtes et al. as “an adventurous troupe with one foot in the world of postmodern art and the other in downtown performance.” Diebes’s opera installation, Strange Birds, was performed in the United States in 2001 and had its United Kingdom première this year. He is currently working on a new opera, Hypatia, based on a libretto by Mac Wellman, and on a sound installation for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino.
The David Winton Bell Gallery, located on the first floor of List Art Center, 64 College St., is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (401) 863-2932.
Bell Gallery Exhibition Schedule for the 2005-06 Academic Year
September 10 – October 30
Joe Diebes: Song of Transformation
Kerry Stuart Coppin: Materia Oscura/Dark Matter
November 12 – December 22
Labyrinths: Jan Mancuska, Domenic McGill, Alyson Shotz
January 28 – March 8, 2006
Another View of Joseph Beuys: Multiples from New England Collections
March 18 - April 2
Student Exhibition 2006