Kerry Hirth uses her synesthetic experience of musical harmony as color to create visual music in vibrant linear patterns. Her recent work goes beyond representing the complexities of musical patterns to explore the ways they point to the source of music in life experiences. By engaging the colors of real and enchanted landscapes, her drawings of music gain a unique sense of time, place, and the profound relationship between music and the natural world.
The pastel drawings in All I Wish to Own represent the progression of harmonies in a late piano Intermezzo by Johannes Brahms. Essentially, they are visual music, conveying the continuous motion and contours of the music in a linear pattern with consistent correlations between harmony and color. These drawings attempt to characterize visually how music is gleaned, distilled, and differentiated by the imagination from our experiences of the real living world around us. All I Wish to Own deals with the ways that our human longing to own or possess natural living things, and other people, is reflected in musical patterns. By using colors that summon real landscapes and fantastic visions about them, these drawings weave together a story of the tragic loss of nature resulting from human desire, leaving evidence of beauty and grief behind.
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Image: Kerry Hirth, The Coast of Barcelona, 2019, pastel on bonded paper.