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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Visual Art "Seen" Without Sight

I read a fascinating article, "Taking in Turner to Cezanne through the Tonalities Experience" about an art museum that is making paintings available to blind people. Say, what? How can blind people "see" a painting? Through music!
The compositions were based on the writings of Louis-Bertrand Castel, a 19th century French mathematician who believed there is a natural relationship between colors and musical notes. In his system, for example, blue is C, and green is D.

The project, called the Tonalities Experience, is the brainchild of Barre Hunt O’Neill, a local painter, actress and jewelry designer with no musical training.

"Color, that’s my bag—just delving into the colors and studying the relationship," she said. "This takes everything that I’ve ever done and applies it—even the glint of jewelry is in this."
The show, at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY, also pairs paintings with haiku. What a great idea!

Why not borrow the set, Great Artists of the Western World [709.2 GRE], and browse through it's 9 volumes (v. 10 is an index)? Try to imagine music that would bring the art alive to someone with no or limited vision.

If you'd like to try your hand at writing haiku, Haiku, by Patricia Donegan, found in our children's section [J 372.623 DON], is one of the best books available for teaching this poetic form.

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