Rob Tarbell and Douglas Boyce
October 27 – November 11, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 27, 6 – 9pm
Live Performance at 7pm

White Box is pleased to present Bird-Like Things in Things Like Trees, a multi-media collaboration between visual artist Rob Tarbell, and composer, Dr. Douglas Boyce. The project encompasses new paintings and drawings, glass horns producing video and/or sound, a live performance of an original musical composition, and the projection of a spatialized audio loop in the exhibition/performance space.

Tarbell and Boyce conceived this collaborative project while at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in southwestern France during the summer of 2010. While living in the new environment, both artists were struck by the heightened presence of birds, and since neither artist had ever embarked on mimetics, the “birds” became the vehicle to trace their daily encounters and bring them into their artwork. The experience and subsequent musical, audio, and artwork can be understood as ‘speculative ornithology’.

The exhibition opens with the acoustic musical work performed live by chamber orchestra, Harmonious Blacksmith, within the exhibition space displaying the paintings and drawings. For the remainder of the exhibition, the spatialized sound system creates an audio installation by playing a continuous loop of an abstracted version of the live performance. The spatialized sound system distributes all or portions of the music inside a 360 degree perimeter.

Aesthetically the musical works will continue the timbral and aleatoric explorations of Douglas Boyce’s recent work, 102nd & Amsterdam. (Listen on under Athenaeum > Listening.) The ensemble will consist of harpsichord, cello, and recorder. Rather than reducing the experience of a sighting to either pure sound or simple visual observation, the audience is invited to experience a particular line-of-light in a specific place and particular moment in musical time.

With Bird-Like Things in Things Like Trees, Rob Tarbell’s interest lies in fabricating immediate yet elusive objects. The work is dependent on projected and reflected light. For instance, with the panels, sides or splits emit a bounce of pinkish-orange light. With the shaped canvases, light initially passes through the ink and reflects off the under layer of mirrored mylar, creating patterns and echoes of the ink image on the polyester surface. The mirrored glass horns reflect the surrounding environment while projecting sound and images through concealed speakers and pico projectors embedded within.

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