Speaking in Tongues
Artists Invent Languages to Express Their Concepts
HARLEM, NY – November 14, 2012 – Speaking in Tongues is an exhibition highlighting the work of seven artists who have cultivated their own language, to effectively serve their visual and performance art in a fluent and innovative manner. The artists distort the common language we respect as “normal” to illustrate new ideas and imagery, creating a foundation that is literally breaking ground as the dialogue flourishes throughout the exhibition’s length.
The search for truth can result in obsessive leaps of inventiveness. Reaching near ecstatic levels through repetition and pattern in their studio practice, the seven artists in Speaking in Tongues: Scott Draves, Ellen Hackl Fagan, Jim Hett, Anne Pomponio, Arleen Schloss, Suzan Shutan, and Julio Valdez, present their ideas through a wide range of subject and media.
Suzan Shutan’s interactive sculptures created with touch-sensitive pom-poms signify aviary flocking behaviors. Scott Draves’ screensavers use mathematical formulae to produce self-replicating visual gestures that follow and imitate one another, like sheep. Scott’s exhibit lies on the Art In FLUX Harlem website, (http://WWW.ARTINFLUXHARLEM.COM/#!speaking-in-tongues/c89h) where you can create your own screensaver. Jim Hett’s meticulous drawings depict ordinary subjects, in limitless variations on the same drawing, with a compulsive attention to detail. Arleen Schloss and exhibition curator Ellen Hackl Fagan both employ languages that pair color and sound that evolves into a compelling new grammar, both in visual poems, spoken word, and interactive digital media and paintings. The reinterpretations of shapes and solitary forms, into political subject matter and as symbolization of the Self are the focus of Anne Pomponio and Julio Valdez’ paintings.
Inventing language seems to a trade both naturally given and socially cultivated, but the measure of difficulty lies in the representation, of the language and the community the new language begins to build. The purpose of language is one of paradoxical pretenses, as speech and the use of the “tongue” native or not can build greater understanding and can also provide disorientation furthering confusion and misunderstanding. Influenced by minimalist music and abstraction, and raised through an age of technological communication and reproduction that has advanced at warp speed, the works here represents pluralism and self-expression in our contemporary culture. Some artists pull back into quiet areas to contemplate their inner voice. Others dive in and reflect upon this pulse of constant energy.
In tandem with this exhibition will be a series of Saturday programs, to be announced, that pull in other communities of artists and practitioners of invented languages, such as Con-langers, scat singers, rappers, linguists and religious healers who use speaking in tongues, or, glossolalia, as a part of their spiritual practice. Speaking in Tongues opens on Wednesday evening, December 5 at 6pm along with two other adjacent Art In FLUX Harlem pop-up galleries, Art Enology and Discovery.
Speaking in Tongues opens on December 5.
Gallery Hours: thru January 28th, Wed-Sat, Noon to 7pm and Sun, Noon to 5pm
Opening reception: December 5, 6pm to 9pm
Location: 1961 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd @ 118th Street, HARLEM, NYC
For more Info or to RSVP: www.artinfluxharlem.com / 646-340-3479 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bird Myth Series: FLOCK
bySuzan Shutan, 8’h x18’w x 5’ d (variable), pom poms, wires
About Bird Myth Series: FLOCK
A drug manufacturer wanted every bird found in Shakespeare to live in America. He initially released 60 species into New York’s Central Park that eventually multiplied to 200 million plus birds across North America. Flock, from my Bird Myth Series, focuses on the Starling bird and their breathtaking patterns that come out of nervous unison. One reaction sets off an array of undulating changing movement. Their flight begins and returns to a structured format in which they fly in unison outward in straight lines. The species can be found across continents from Asia, to Europe, and North America to Africa and Australia.
My color-coding has two components to it. Brightly colored pom poms represent iridescent plumage of many of the Starling species while multi-colors are used to represent the Starlings repertoire of about 15-20 distinct imitations of calls that are simple in frequency structure and in the intensity of sound modulation. Their gift for mimicry includes the calls of abundant species like wild birds (curlews, hawks, jays and meadowlarks), smooth liquid such as water or a running brook, but can also imitate objects such as rattles, fire and police sirens, car alarms, vehicle reversing signals, phone rings, whistles and patterns of human speech such as chatter and screams.
About Art In FLUX Harlem
Art In FLUX Harlem is a movement of artists appearing in Pop-Up art galleries featuring special events and creative collaborations with theatre, film, music & fashion industries. FLUX highlights and creates opportunity for artists living and/or working in Harlem, brings art into public spaces, creates a positive use for vacant retail locations & and stimulates a vibrant neighborhood merging art, commerce and community.