Monday, August 3, 2015

Terry Riley Concert Drawings

We attended the Terry Riley Festival by Kronos Quartet a few weekends ago.  It was three nights of Terry Riley's music and music by other musicians celebrating Terry Riley on his 80th birthday.  It was my first outing at the new SF Jazz Center, and I loved the sound of the room there.

I drew all three nights.  As you may know, I draw at sound, noise and music performances that don't have their own visual component.  That means drawing in the dark, without being able to see the paper.  It is very pure drawing, very pure experience and I learn so much from it.  Both abstract and representational images emerge.  Under these conditions, certain elements of drawing tend to drop out, like dynamic range -- lights and darks -- and the shading of shapes and connecting up of lines.

Sometimes, during intermissions or right after concerts, I may fill in some shading or shadows or connect up lines to delineate shapes. For the set of Terry Riley Festival performances, I did not alter the drawings after the performances, as there were interesting aspects to the gestures caused by the music that I did not want to lose.

Friday and Saturday night I made one drawing for each piece performed.  Sunday night, during Salome Dances for Peace, I was sometimes able to start a new drawing when a new movement started, but sometimes I just turned the page when I felt the music changing.  There were 21 drawings from Friday and Saturday and 17 drawings from Sunday.

Interestingly, throughout the three nights of music, across most of the drawings, visual themes emerged: fecundity, female images, plants and a particular view of the earth from above, but not too far above.   I am not going to guess why this large body of music brought forth a seemingly singular visual theme, except to say that it was somehow there in my experience of the sound.

Sunday was the first time I heard Salome Dances for Peace in its entirety.  I heard or read that Kronos Quartet had to practice both discipline and stamina in order to play it all in one night.  My experience was that I was hearing a great deal of music, and that I, as a listener, would learn how to hear it over time, listening to it in the years to come.

Another piece that was especially inspiring was Yoko Ono's To Match The Sky.  Somehow the music and instructions together were like a prism, faceting out more and more images and ideas and experiences though the music sounded still and clear and simple.

So here is a small selection of the drawings.  There was so much music that weekend that I haven't included all the drawings I thought were interesting, just a few.

 One Earth One People One Love, from Sun Rings, Terry Riley

 Baba O'Riley, Pete Townsend 

 To Match the Sky, Yoko Ono

 Earth Whisperers, from Sun Rings, Terry Riley

 A Rainbow in Curved Air, Terry Riley

 I Like Your Eyes, Liberty, Terry Riley and Michael McClure

 Crazy World, Terry Riley

 The First Pancake, Gyan Riley

The following from Salome Dances for Peace, Terry Riley

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I missed those concerts, Jade. I have a live recording of Rainbow and Poppy Nogood I found in a thrift store years ago. BTW I'll be showing at Merchants of Reality at SFOS 2015!