Now in its third year, Minus Sound Research collects visual art by seven North Carolina-based musicians at Wootini this weekend: Maria Albani (Schooner), Laura Ballance (Superchunk), Anna Bullard (Pox World Empire), Catherine Edgerton (Midtown Dickens), John Harrison (North Elementary), Reid Johnson (Schooner) and Nathan Oliver White (Nathan Oliver).
Co-founders Harrison and Albani conceived of Minus Sound Research while touring through the South with their rock bands four years ago. They envisioned it as a celebration of creativity with a DIY aesthetic, and as a way to showcase different outlets of expression for a single artist.
Harrison says the core of the creative process is the same whether he's creating music or painting: "Being in the moment, stopping time, having the world fall away," he explains. "But I feel more confident in the music process, often creating much of what I want to do in my head before picking up an instrument. Painting is a bit different: I often don't know what I'm doing even as I'm doing it."
The Independent got a sneak peek at some of the works that will be shown at Wootini starting Friday, Oct. 10, and spoke to their artists. Minus Sound Research III opens at 7 p.m. A free compilation of music by the participants will be available at the opening, and all of the original works will be on sale.
- "The Aliphants" by Maria Albani
MARIA ALBANI [Presents "The Aliphants"; plays in Schooner and Organos]
"These are called 'Aliphants' because they're sort of elephants, and I incorporated my name into that. I'm not very good at depicting things exactly as they are: I can't look at a tree and draw it how I see it. With animals I feel more open to turn them into more imaginative creatures. I didn't know I was making elephants at first. I always start with the eyes, which dictate what kind of creature it's going to be. The rings under these eyes reminded me of trunks. After the eyes I painted the masks around them, and kept going until they turned into elephants. Really, these paintings are about my relationship with my mom. That's my family, just me and her."
- "American South" by Reid Johnson
REID JOHNSON [Presents "American South"; has been leading the indie rock band Schooner since 2003]
"I work at the Center for the Study of the American South. One day I was sitting on the porch with my crayons and started drawing this tree across the street. I was trying to get back to feeling free while doing art, which I was having a hard time with—blank canvas syndrome. The crayons were about getting back to square one. You have to have a lot of patience drawing the lines. You can scrape the wax off if you mess up, but it's hard to draw anything over that. ... That tree gave me a chance to connect back to myself, standing there like, 'Why haven't I been drawn before?' I'd also been doing sketches of veins; I'm interested in the inner workings of the human body in the broader context of connection to the physical world. That was the basis for showing the roots, which I outlined in red to emphasize that vein-like quality. I exist in my mind quite frequently, and art helps me to connect with the world."
- "Tooth" by Nathan Oliver White
NATHAN OLIVER WHITE [Recent graduate of dental school presents "Tooth"; leads the band Nathan Oliver]
"This piece is a rarity for me because I usually don't like being too straightforward with music or art. It's about 10 inches high. I carved it from a giant block of wood with hand files and chisels. The shape is generalized, but pretty anatomically correct. ... Before dental school, I took a sculpture class because I wanted to get some experience with 3-D perception. A lot of people are fearful of coming to the dentist, so I guess this was about taking a darkly comic poke at that and downplaying it at the same time: something to help people relax."