The Well Tempered Listener
In Multiplication of Sarah ( facing page), I focus on one aspect of my interests in translation and interpretation between the visual and aural. This work is composed of thirty-six 6" by 8" pieces of stretched raw muslin. Atop the base muslin is another layer of muslin primed with a mixture of matte medium and acrylic gesso. Over the primed surface the letters S, A, R, A, and H were printed by Xerox transfer. These letters appear as they are translated into written Morse code and they are arranged as a multiplication table, with the center images containing a combination of a letter from the x axis and one from the y axis. The attached muslin represents parchment, forgotten or rediscovered. The Morse code is used to represent technology, revealed secrets, and the transmission of information. The multiplication table format suggests a lesson-learning device. The use of “Sarah” is arbitrary, as the format works for any name and so alludes to the anonymity or universality of grammar.
In The Well Tempered Listener (opening page) an actual hardbound book is used as a canvas. Deems Taylor’s 1940 book by the same title (New York: Simon and Schuster) was an educational text for teaching readers the hows and whys of classical music. The printed text on each page is covered with a coat of semitransparent gesso and then translated into handwritten Morse code.
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