Sights and sounds collide in Science Museum Oklahoma's new "Soundscapes" exhibit, opening Saturday
A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Sights and sounds collide noisily at Science Museum Oklahoma’s ‘Soundscapes’
The new exhibit, which explores the relationship between the visual and aural realms of art and science, opens in the Satellite Galleries with a free public reception Saturday night.
The clattering of metallic grass and the clanking of giant wooden wind chimes mingled with the thumping of a plastic waterfall and the pounding of triangular drums inside Science Museum Oklahoma.
“It’s gonna be loud in here,” said Scott Henderson, director of the museum’s Satellite Galleries, smiling last Friday as he watched several artists and their helpers installing pieces for a new exhibition.
When art and science, along with sight and sound, collide, it’s bound to make some noise, after all. That’s just what he had in mind with “Soundscapes,” a new exhibit of sculptures based on the distinct relationship between the visual and aural realms of art and science.
An opening reception for “Soundscapes” is set for 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the museum. The event is free and open to the public.
On view through Aug. 2, the exhibit features the work of 11 established Oklahoma artists. Most of them are accustomed to working in the visual domain, but Henderson challenged them to produce sound sculptures for the show.
“A sound sculpture is either a sculpture that produces sound or sound that creates mass … or a visual. A couple of these kind of do both,” he said. “Everything that’s been done in this show is almost a test because this is stepping outside everyone’s element. These aren’t sound artists, these are visual artists that I’ve challenged … to come up with these pieces.”
For the past four or five months, he has been working with the “Soundscapes” artists to turn their noisemaking brainstorms into sculptural reality.
“They’ve never really done anything like this before. It’s all new to them. Some just have some background in music,” Henderson said. “I think they exceeded expectations. That’s why I chose these artists. They’re very innovative and hard workers.”
Standing under the 45 enormous wooden wind chimes she crafted for her suspended sculpture “Free Fall,” Beatriz Mayorca smiled as she sent them gently bonking together with the brush of her hand.
“It was very challenging because sometime the sound that you have in the head, that is not the real sound that you have,” the Oklahoma City artist said. “But I love a challenge.”
For her two “Soundscapes” sculptures, Mayorca found inspiration in the landscapes of her native Venezuela. Along with her oversize wind chimes, she created a wall sculpture of looped and knotted clear plastic tubing mounted on a blue painted backdrop. Titled “Angel Falls,” the piece depicts a cross section of the world’s tallest uninterrupted waterfall, one of her homeland’s top tourist attractions. When the plastic knots are knocked against the wooden backing, the sound is almost drumlike.
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