Movement: Sound and Emotion Revealed through the Figure


When I first learned that I was going blind I imagined a heavy oppressive darkness descending down upon me eliminating all light, color and joy from my life; the very thought made it hard to breathe. Instead, when the last of my eyesight left me it created new vistas for exploration. Isn't that really what art is - an attempt to understand our world around us and to take our thoughts and feelings and express that to others? In my attempt to bring visual art into a non-visual world I wasn't alone - I always had music and the color it brings with me. When I hear music I have always seen color, it is called synesthesia, but without it having to compete with my eyesight any longer the colors exploded. Emotions too began to take on color; perhaps guided by the music at first, but then taking on a life of their own.

I understand the world around me - the shape and contours, through touch. There are few things in our lives that mean more than a simple touch. Our first reaction when a loved one suffers is to reach out to touch them. The same when we celebrate, and who is not offended when you reach your hand out to shake hands with someone only to be rejected. Touch for me has this, but it also takes the place of my eyes allowing me to spatially orient myself using modern orientation and mobility techniques (skills needed to travel without sight) combined with methods of breaking down compositions that artists have used for centuries. Together these methods allow me to 'visualize' in my mind what I touch, effectively allowing my hands to work as my eyes. 

 Because my way of 'seeing' is extremely physical I wanted to focus this series on the figure - our physical bodies and the movements that they make being the first and perhaps the strongest way that we have of expressing ourselves. A simple gesture or position can speak volumes, even when what they are saying may sometimes be difficult to put into words. Interwoven with this is the emotion of music that for me colors the air that we move through and breathe. The music permeates us shaping our thoughts and the way that we feel. Who hasn't had the experience of a song unexpectedly coming over the radio and completely changing their mood? Paint and music are in many ways analogous, and in this series I use the flowing colors of the pigments to mimic the sounds floating through the air and the emotions that we feel.

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  • John Bramblitt
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