Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Five Questions with Minus Sound Research

Artists often don't confine themselves to one genre. If someone is a musician, chances are they create some sort of visual art as well. Chapel Hill's Minus Sound Research is a collective of local musicians who do just that: create visual art. This weekend the group will showcase the art, visual and aural, of its members with a two-day showing and concert at Carrboro's ArtsCenter. Collective members Maria Albani (Organos) and John Harrison (North Elementary) answered my questions.

1. Tell us about Minus Sound Research. Who are the artists involved, and what kinds of art to they create?
(Maria) Minus Sound Research is an artist collective comprised of local NC musicians. This year, for our 5 year anniversary, we have invited all of our past participating artists to submit 1 piece. In addition, we've also invited 5 new artists into the collective, who will be showing 4-5 new pieces.

These are all of the artists (Past & new) who have work in MSR5 this year:

New Artists: Mac McCaughn (Portastaic/Superchunk) Casey Cook (Americans in France), Casey Burns (The Nein) , Wendy Spitzer(Felix Obelix), & Billy Sugarfix (Billy Sugarfix)

Past Artists: Laura Ballance (Superchunk), Melissa Swingle (The Moaners), Bill Taylor (KM) Ron Liberti (Pipe), Beth Tacular (Bowerbirds), Michael Triplett (Fin Fang Foom), John Harrison (North Elementary), David Koslowski (Free Electric State), Shirle' Hale (Free Electric Sate), Catherine Edgerton (Midtown Dickens), Nathan Oliver (Nathan Oliver), Mas Sato (The Sames), Reid Johnson (Schooner), Anna Bullard (Anna Bullard), Chip Smoak (Simple), Linc Hancock (Strange), Drew Robertson (Phon), Viva Cohen (Jett Rink), Laird Dixon (Shark Quest), & Maria Albani (Organos/Schooner).

As far as what kind of art you'll see: Various mediums. Michael Tripplet shows his photgraphy, Anna Bullard has done a leather collage', Nathan Oliver has made a wooden light box, Laura Ballance made a ceramic pot (complete with baby jade plant living inside), Ron Liberti has a screenprint, & Drew Robertson has created an audio.visual piece that is incredible. There really is quite a variety.

2. Why did you decide to do a two-day concert, and how did the ArtsCenter get involved?

(Maria) The main focus of MSR has always been the visual art. We have never featured live music with any of the shows for that reason. When we approached the Carrboro ArtsCenter about having MSR5 in their gallery, we discovered we would also have access to their
beautiful theatre. Since MSR5 would be a celebration of our 5 year Anniversary-we really wanted to have live music this year. What's even more fantastic about this portion of the celebration, is that all of the bands are performing for FREE. This means that when folks purchase a ticket to see the bands play on both Friday & Saturday-100% of that ticket money is being donated directly to our ArtsCenter!

3. When is the book coming out, and where can we buy it?

(John) The book is out now! Here is a preview.
There is a wall exhibit of the book at the opening along with a copy and bookmarks that will have information on where to purchase your very own copy.
The link to get your copy.

4. Tell us about your own art. What are the similarities between your visual art and your music?

(John) Mostly the art I do is mixed media involving screen printing, acrylic and spray paints on canvas or found objects such as wood/paper. Certainly there is a collage element to both....the sounds and random bleeps/static surround the songs in much of my music...and....the spray paint or drips of random color that surround much of the screen print that is more formed and concrete. I feel that in both ways the song or definition of the piece is presented in a fashion that creates an effect somewhere between creating and deconstructing. I really enjoy the process of creating both...they come from the same source inside of myself.
(Maria) I do a lot of different things. Sometimes acrylic paints. Sometimes pastel chalks or some form of printmaking. This year I am showing an screen print. I guess a main similarity in my art and music would be the element of spontaneity. Resulting in compositions that might not make a whole lot of sense? I don't know. I never sit down and make art with an idea of what I'm trying to execute already present in my mind. It's always a surprise to me. Same with my music.

5. One of your new artists is Mac McCaughan. Tell us about his work.

(John) The subject matter of Mac's work for this show is based in music....amp tubes (the one featured on the new Superchunk album) and headphones. Mac uses pen and gouache on paper. Gouache is similar to watercolor but with a smaller ratio of water to pigment.

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