words by Hal Rammel / Air Guitar (photo, above) by Barbara Lindquist (Racine)
The Shapes of Sound: The Visual Art of Music in the Midwest is an exhibition of unique hand-crafted musical instruments taking place at Woodland Pattern Book Center. The show includes not only unusual musical instruments but also uniquely visual music scores that represent sound in ways other than conventional notation, i.e. via color, graphic symbols, and other techniques. The show ranges from beautiful cigar box guitars by Milwaukee’s Johnny Washday to the exquisitely crafted frame drums by Hamid Alwan of the Village Bazaar on Farwell. Douglas Ewart (of Chicago ’s AACM) is represented by his ‘Oxygen Drum Roving’ and an extravagantly decorated bell-encrusted crutch. Composer/vocal improviser Amanda Schoofs contributes beautiful painted scores and we also have a few examples of the dense complex charts of saxophonist Ken Vandermark to represent working scores with a strong visual appeal. In addition, we have eight instruments by Racine’s remarkable instrument builder Barbara Lindquist. She passed away earlier this year and this is the first retrospective look at her imaginative work.
The opening reception for the show is on Sunday, August 4th, from 1pm until 4pm. There will be conversation and music pertaining to all of the work in the show throughout the afternoon. Linda Binder (Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra) and Mark Truesdell (The Spirals) will be performing on Barbara Lindquist’s violins and 3-string canoe paddle. Amanda Schoofs, Johnny Washday, and Wilhelm Matthies (of Racine ) will be performing original work. Milwaukee composer Mark Mantel will perform on a headboard tongue drum designed by Chicagoan John Preus.
More info on Sounds Take Shape: The Visual Art of Music in the Midwest can be found at Woodlandpattern.org.