There is a longstanding if sometimes artificial separation between visual art and music. This Resounding show, curated by former musician and Prospect New Orleans founder and director Dan Cameron, explores the hazy frontier where art and music meet. While music is pervasive here, the work is mostly silent though not without resonance. Describing the dramatic silence in the immediate aftermath of a performance, Cameron says, "With the sudden absence, other senses rush to fill the void." That silence, the musical equivalent of the visual artist's "negative space," is eloquently embodied in Rhona Bitner's large color photographs of empty performance spaces. In Newport Music Hall (pictured), the glow of stage lights is reflected off the contours of a vast baroque ceiling medallion, but in the absence of an audience the silence is deafening — as it is in the gaudy intimacy of Red's Lounge, in Clarksdale, Miss., where Robert Johnson's ghost would surely feel at home.
Los Angeles artist Sean Duffy adds time and technology to the mix in modified LP album jackets arranged in op art patterns, expressing nostalgia for music technologies of the past. Nearby, a vintage DJ turntable with no tone arm stands as a monument to the sounds of silence. Old records also appear in New Yorker Ted Riederer's installation of vinyl LPs molded into human skulls wearing their labels like skullcaps. Guarded by St. Antipode, a Darth Vaderish sculpture also molded from old LPs, they evoke the sensibilities of the death metal genre. Vancouver artist Tim Lee remixes the 1970s works of Neil Young and Steve Martin in a fictitious if understated LP double album, and in the back room a video by Turkish artist Fikret Akay employs the ambient sounds and images of religious students as they pace the floor and chant Scripture in what amounts to an ambulatory Tower of Babel. This inverts the approach of the other artists, whose silent objects and images convey the inner music of the visual imagination. — D. Eric Bookhardt
Resounding: Prospect.1.5 Group Exhibition
Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400A Julia St., 522-5471; www.jonathanferraragallery.com