Sound, Shape, and Color Converge: John Cage’s SONATAS AND INTERLUDES in Conversation with the Prints of Yozo Hamaguchi and Toko Shinoda
On Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 8PM, pianist Eliza Garth will celebrate the John Cage centennial with a performance of Cage’s masterpiece for prepared piano, Sonatas and Interludes, at Floating World Gallery, located at 1925 N. Halsted Street in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. In conjunction with Ms. Garth’s performance of the Cage work, the Gallery will offer an exhibition of works by renowned Japanese artists Toko Shinoda and Yozo Hamaguchi, both contemporaries of Cage. The exhibition is being planned by Elias Martin, Director of Exhibitions at the Gallery. Floating World Gallery, one of the world’s leading dealers in Japanese art, takes its name from the English translation of “ukiyo-e,” referring to images of an evanescent, impermanent world of fleeting beauty. Its serene surroundings make it an ideal setting in which to experience Japanese art and Cage’s ethereal sounds. The performance will be preceded by a conversation with Ms. Garth and Mr. Martin about the art and the music, starting at 7PM.
Admission is free of charge; however, space is very limited and reservations are required. To make reservations, please call (312) 587-7800.
This event is a preview concert for “A John Cage Festival,” coming up in April, curated by Nomi Epstein and presented in various Chicago venues by a.pe.ri.od.ic, a critically acclaimed concert series that presents new and experimental music. To learn more about the Festival, please visit the festival website at aperiodicchicago.com.
An explorer at heart, John Cage (1912-1992) studied with trailblazers — including Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg — and then in turn paved the way for trailblazers, opening up musical pathways that would later be traveled and extended by minimalist composers. In his mature years a disciple of Buddhism, he overturned conventional Western conceptions of the nature of sound and music. He is regarded to be one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. Described by the writer James Pritchett as “a big piece with a quiet voice,” Sonatas and Interludes is meditative in its esthetic; the “preparation” of the piano transforms its sound into an ensemble of gongs, chimes, and magical effects.
Toko Shinoda (b. 1913), one of the foremost calligraphers in Japan, is known as a master of the intricate manner of writing tracing back 3000 years. Shinoda began creating abstract work in 1947. A two-year stay in New York in the 1950s introduced her to the work of abstract expressionists and inspired her to go beyond the traditional boundaries of controlled calligraphy and use expansive, dynamic brush strokes. Her work is bold and daring, slashing across the paper’s surface, carving out a landscape inhabited by both warrior and poet.
Yozo Hamaguchi (1909- 2000) is the pre-eminent mezzotint artist of the 20th century and creator of the colored mezzotint. For centuries the mezzotint technique was limited to creating photorealistic reproductions of paintings. This technique was rendered obsolete for this purpose by photogravure, and Hamaguchi recognized the artistic potential for the art form. With the encouragement of the poet e.e. cummings, Hamaguchi began producing mezzotints in the 1930s. Hamaguchi’s prints illustrate simple subjects—a slice of melon, a ball of yarn, a single cherry. Yet they provide great richness and depth to these objects. His subjects glow and become weightless. Lush velvet-like backgrounds hold and suspend his subjects, intensifying their presence, and subtle gradations of color and tone become landscapes unto themselves.
Pianist Eliza Garth has achieved international distinction as a performer of the music of our time. Known as an artist with a passionate voice and an adventurous spirit, she has championed some of the most demanding works in the repertoire; these include the complete solo piano works of Donald Martino, which she has recorded for the Centaur label. As stated in the New York Times, “Ms. Garth … has an exquisite ear for piano sound. One can think of no one better qualified to play this intricate, shining music.” Her performance of John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes was recognized with an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2010. Ms. Garth is a graduate of The Juilliard School. For more information about Eliza Garth, please visit www.elizagarth.com
Floating World Gallery, one of the world’s leading dealers in Japanese art, offers private collectors and institutions the highest quality works of art. The Gallery opened its new 8,200 square-foot gallery space in October 2009 and is now actively engaged in helping to educate the public and increase awareness of the rich world of modern Japanese art. Recent, critically acclaimed exhibitions have included “Creating What Has Never Been,” an exhibition of Japanese post-war paintings and contemporary ceramics (Sept. 24 -Nov. 19, 2010); and “Behind Paper Walls: Self-Printed Masterworks by Jun’ichiro Sekino” (Dec. 3, 2010 – Jan. 28, 2011). Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. and by appointment.