Song as Muse: When Art and Music Meet

Song as Muse: When Art and Music Meet
Concert Photography and Mixed Media on Canvas inspired by the Music of TRAIN
by Kathryn Gerhardt

August 2 - 28, 2006

Reception: August 8, 6-9p

chashama 217 Gallery
217 East 42nd Street
New York, NY

Artist Statement
When I hear a song I particularly relate to it becomes mine -- part of the soundtrack of my life -- I'll sing it like an anthem. This is especially true of a song that puts into words feelings I felt I had no way of expressing.
This series of paintings is based on the songs of the rock band Train. Their music and the lyrics by lead singer, Pat Monahan, have been an inspiration and comfort to me over the last five years.
When the World Trade Center attack happened I had a plane ticket for a trip to Ireland. I was determined to go, regardless of fears, and left on the next plane over there. One of cds I took along with me was Train's "Drops of Jupiter". As it turned out, this album served as my source of solace when the memories of that day would rush over me.
It was on that trip, listening to "Drops of Jupiter" that I began working with the ancient Irish symbols found in the megalithic monument of Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland.
As my work evolved, I began to portray places and myths with the ancient symbols. It only seemed natural to begin illustrating the music that served as an inspiration and comfort to me.
By illustrating these songs, I am able to place myself inside of them -- to become a part of them -- as they have become a part of me. 
About the artist:
Kathryn Gerhardt's "Song As Muse" series is another step in the evolution of her paintings based on the megalithic symbols carved in the ancient stone structures of Ireland. In the tradition of the ancients, who used these symbols to tell stories and communicate, Ms. Gerhardt's paintings tell the stories of our modern day "bards," musicians, with a contemporary twist. "These particular paintings are based on songs by the band Train. Their music and the lyrics, by lead singer Pat Monahan, have brought great inspiration and joy to me during difficult periods of my life," says Ms. Gerhardt, "By illustrating these songs, I have been able to place myself inside of them – to become a part of them – as they have become a part of me."
The symbols Ms. Gerhardt uses come primarily from the sacred monument of Newgrange in Co. Meath, Ireland. This cave-like structure was built to the sunrise of the Winter Solstice, which illuminates its darkened chamber on that day to signal the sun is returning. Her paintings of whimsical characters in vibrant colors on black canvas represent the light coming out of the darkness and the hope that it brought these people when the sun had returned.
Ms. Gerhardt's symbol paintings have progressed from colorful designs, representing the Irish countryside, to fanciful worlds of goddesses, fairy tales and music. "It only seemed natural, as my work progressed, to begin illustrating the music that serves as such an inspiration and comfort to me. Music that has made me feel that I am not alone. The true universality of music." says the artist, "My hope is that my work captures just some of the light and energy given off by this site and the joy I take from the music, and that whoever looks at them will take a little of that joy and energy with them."
Ms. Gerhardt's concert photography is also part of this exhibit. As a photographer, she most enjoys capturing musicians in the act of creating their music. "The total concentration on their art, strips away every mask and the true self is revealed. I find great beauty in that," says Ms. Gerhardt.
Originally from Tennessee, Ms. Gerhardt now resides in New York. She has had solo shows in Ireland and New York, has participated in group shows and the Boston-based Human Pixel Project. Ms. Gerhardt was curator of the Estrogenius group show at Manhattantheatresource in 2003.

Tags: mixed media, photography, music, multimedia, 217 E 42nd Street, chashama 217
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