by Miles Bumgardner
Music and painting have long been complimentary art forms. From the “Visual Music” of Vassily Kandinsky to Jackson Pollock’s seminal mid-20th century paintings inspired by improvisational Jazz, music and art are linked in ways that are both fundamental and mysterious.
On Friday, February 7th, Barbara Lister-Sink and Kenneth Frazelle, two musicians and visual artists, will present their paintings at Inter_section Gallery and Art Space. The exhibit, titled Seas, Skies and Mountains, will feature paintings of the skies, shorelines and mountain views of North Carolina.
Barbara Lister-Sink, an internationally acclaimed pianist, is a graduate of Smith College and the Utrecht Conservatory, as well as formerly being on the Artist Faculty of the Eastman School of Music. As a musician, she has collaborated with some of the world’s most renown performers. A former keyboardist for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, she has also taught on the piano faculties of the Amsterdam Muziek Lyceum, Duke University, and the Brevard Music Center.
During the 1970’s, while studying and performing in the Netherlands and traveling throughout Europe, Lister-Sink created watercolors. After a two-decade hiatus from visual art, she resumed studies in 2001 with Melrose Tapscott-Buchanan and at Salem College. Since then, Lister-Sink has focused on creating large-scale abstract pastel drawings of North Carolina land and seascapes, as well as of bearded irises. Her medium of choice is soft pastels for they enable her to create both color and line, two elements equally prominent in her musical performances. She combines her love for both art and music in piano performances throughout the United States accompanied by art slides, or in exhibitions of her drawings and pastels created while listening to music. Her watercolors and pastel drawings are in private collections in New York, Ann Arbor, Winston-Salem, Los Angeles, Florence and Amsterdam.
As Director of the School of Music, Salem College Distinguished Professor and Artist-in-Residence at Salem College, Lister-Sink is also working on a doctorate at Columbia University in New York City, where she is combining research in the fields of injury-preventive piano technique, pedagogy, movement science and neuroscience.
“Predictably, the way I create abstract sea and landscapes is messy and ‘dirty.’ My choices of mark and color are always emotional and spontaneous. I work en plein air so that earth and sea smells, seasonal and diurnal light, bird cries, breeze, wind, temperature—and even pestering insects—can infuse the art. And the colors and marks should not amble or stroll sedately across the paper. I want them, like their natural counterparts, to flash and romp and race with my arm, propelled by the unique beauty of this Paradise we call North Carolina.”
The other artist on exhibit is Kenneth Frazelle, a composer whose music, according to The San Francisco Examiner, “came straight from—and went straight to—the heart, an organ too seldom addressed by contemporary composers.” Frazelle’s distinctive voice blends structural and tonal sophistication with a lyrical clarity; he has been influenced not only by his study with the great modernist Roger Sessions, but also by the folk songs and landscape of his native North Carolina.
Frazelle’s heartfelt compositions have included commissions from such renowned performers as Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Paula Robison and members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Recent commissions include works for tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, the Music Menlo Festival, the Ravinia Festival and the North Carolina Symphony. Frazelle teaches at the UNC School of the Arts.
Kenneth Frazelle was born in Jacksonville, N.C. in 1955. He was a student of Roger Sessions at the Juilliard School, and attended high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he now teaches. His music is published by Subito Music Corporation
“I began painting watercolors sometime around 2001. Primarily a composer, I find this diversion wonderfully freeing. There are no deadlines, no audiences, and no performers to satisfy. The medium itself is spontaneous, lyrical, and full of improvisation and quicksilver choices.
Most of the paintings are abstractions of mountain views and skies. These are contemplations of the valley across the way from a small farm that my partner and I share in the Blue Ridge.”
Catch their work at The Intersection Gallery and Space Friday, February 7, at 7pm.