Slideshow: Modernists at The McNay, Part Four
This week's Modernists at The McNay, Part Four, wraps up the 4-part series which has been exploring parallels between the visual art of Joan Miro (and also a number of the important Cubists) and music. The question addressed to some degree on each program queries the relationship between the visual and audible arts. Can a painting sing? Can music paint a picture? These two questions are addressed today by composer Jim Balentine and surface design artist Jane Dunnewold.
This week's show also probes the iconography of Joan Miro. It's an important part of his toolbox, especially the symbolism of woman, bird, and star. The visitor to the current exhibit, Miro: The Experience of Seeing comes face-to-face with one of Miro's most familiar paintings, called Mujer, pajaro y estrella (Homage to Picasso). The musical parallels to these three icons will be both familiar and unfamiliar, ranging from Vivaldi's "Il Gardellino" concerto for sopranino recorder to Joaquin Turina's Mujeres espanolas to Vision of a Starry Night by Alan Hovhaness.
The voices of special guests Jane Dunnewold, Sally Blakemore and Jim Balentine intertwine with commentary from Dr. William Chiego and Rene Barilleaux. Explanations are made but more importantly wonder is expressed at the many overlays of nature, inspiration, and art. Sally Blakemore speculates on the hand and brush-strokes which created the cave paintings at Altamira. Art comes alive through Dr. Chiego's wonder at Miro's Woman Entranced by the Escape of Shooting Stars.
Finally, Jane Dunnewold speaks of the role many artists choose to play as commentators on the world around them. Miro, like his mentor Picasso, spoke out his opposition to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The music of Osvaldo Golijov depicts an earlier time, 1936, when the Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca paid with his life for his opposition to the emergence of the Falangists, paving the way for decades of brutality by the dictator Franco. It's one world with no walls separating life from death from art from music.