Friday, September 13, 2013

Bethany Shorb: Painting Machines: Klangfiguren (Sound Figures)

OPENING: Opens at Devotion Gallery, Friday September 13, 2013
LOCATION: 54 Maujer St at Lorimer. L to Lorimer, G to Metropolitan

(You can also see some of Bethany's visual work reproduced in Words of Traitors: 7 Lives In Transition.)
Viewers may be familiar with the seminal physics class demonstration in which square steel plates are sprinkled with salt or sand, an electronic musical tone is applied, and through the resultant flexural vibration, a visual representation of the plate's resonant frequency is depicted.
These, "Chladni Figures," are named for musician and physicist Ernst Chladni who in 1787, first ran a violin bow across a brass plate lightly covered in sand and pictorially recorded the waveforms that appeared.

These visual representations of sound are the foundation for Shorb's high-gloss perversion of the ephemeral impermanence that defines traditional sandpainting. In an unlikely crossing of sacred geometry and car culture, rather than brushed away and destroyed after the meditative act or scientific experiment, these granular patterns are instead baked into an impenetrable, industrial polymer on aluminum, kaleidoscopically tessellated and contradictorily blasted with both a diabetic shock of
candy colored hot-rod surface finish and cold, Detroit acerbity.
With an adoring nod toward science-fair kitsch, Shorb re-creates classic sonic experiments with a modified sub-woofer, tone generation software, and industrial pigments typically used in the automotive industry. As the input amplitude is increased and a harmonic frequency found, the powdered
pigment bounces about on the aluminum plates until settling at nodal points (areas of no movement) and moving away from antinodal points (areas of intense vibration) thereby producing intricate patterns of linear motion and cyclonic rotation which are then immobilized into a single, sonorous visualization. When more plates from the same frequency are tiled\together, more of the waveform comes into view, reminiscent of Tibetan Buddhist mandalas; a cenophobic adornment seen through a hyper-colored
prismatic, low-rider metallic-flaked lens.
Bethany Shorb, Founder and Principal Designer of Cyberoptix was born in
Boston, MA in 1976. She received her MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook
Academy of Art and BFA from Boston University. Her photography and product
design work have been widely published in the United States and abroad;
her visual art and product work have been exhibited throughout the US and
included in numerous private and public collections. 
Devotion is a Williamsburg gallery focused on the intersection of art, science, new media, and design. We present cross-disciplinary work that draws from architecture, computation, gaming, biology, fabrication,
interface design, open-source communities, cloud computing, sound, and complexity. We are always seeking out artists who use new technologies or\ introduce new paradigms.

[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

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