January 15 to February 18 was an exciting time for me. Yu-Wen Wu, the visual artist for whom I wrote "A Glimpse" while we were in residence together at the VCCA last year, had a new solo exhibition at the Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, and a portion of the work was based on several scores I gave to her as a parting gift at the end of our residency.
For my birthday last year, Yu-Wen created a drawing in her signature style based on "A Glimpse" — 28 black dots (one for each year of my life) connected by her elegant, arcing lines; scores of ledger lines; and one bright purple dot "for the next year", and referring to the purple shirt that I wore to my birthday dinner, which everyone thought looked fantastic on me (it did!). I was thrilled beyond words to be given such a beautiful and intensely personal gift by such an amazing artist. So imagine my surprise and delight to learn that Yu-Wen was using one of my scores as the basis for one of her works in the new show!
Here is what Yu-Wen had to say about the show to me:
The show may just as well have been called Composed by Waves. It is inspired in part by musical scores, its structures and just the feeling a piece of music comes in. Much of my process begins with looking at a score, extracting "data" from this score, and then drawing and interpretation. I could have labeled each piece with its accompanying composer/inspiration: ie: Bach, Copland, Glass, Brown, Feldman, Tobenski…but felt it locked the viewer into trying too hard to hear Stravinski, see a Mozart, etc…
It is your love and enthusiasm for a really good Song that inspired Songbook 5, which stemmed from "Starfish". Deceptively simple, each of the songbooks underwent numerous iterations and reductions before settling into the final form. Earl Brown’s work inspired the structure of the "Nocturn" series. Handwritten manuscripts contributed to ie: composition XII, XIII.
It was such an honor to learn in Philadelphia that the entire show was inspired by me and my work! Prior to driving to Philadelphia for the evening I had been under the impression that only one of the pieces was inspried by me, so it was a very, very pleasant surprise to hear that the entire show was inspired by my time with Yu-Wen.
And it was pretty cool to learn that "Songbook 5" was bought that evening by another artist!
Songbook 5, Yu-Wen Wu