“My first memory is of the brightness of light–light all around.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
The Brightness of Light is a sonic exploration of Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting style during her many summers spent on the Stieglitz estate in Lake George. It is influenced by her techniques as an artist generally, and also specifically by her Jack-in-the-Pulpit series, from which I translated many elements into my musical realm.
Her Jack-in-the-Pulpit series consists of six paintings, presenting this common flower from a variety of perspectives and levels of abstraction. I was particularly moved by the steady increase of magnification and abstraction resulting from placing three of these paintings in the order No. 2, No. 4, No. 6. This formed the main structure of The Brightness of Light, and No. 5 followed as a kind of improvisatory coda.
In translating aspects of her Jack series into musical ideas, her use of color became my use of instrumentation; her use of smoothness and jaggedness became my use of legato and staccato; contrast became antiphony; leaf-tips became cadences; and abstraction became melodic fragmentation.
Through this composition I hope to have paid respect to O’Keeffe and her works, which have now allowed a new work of art–albeit in a different medium–to come to life.
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