Three Color Sunburst in the Knight Arts Blog

January 2nd, 2011

See Anne Tschida’s wonderfully thoughtful write up of Daniel Milewski’s “Three Color Sunburst” below or click here

Sunlight penetrates the deep rosy-red curtains, so that the musical equipment inside this storefront are bathed in a special color this afternoon. Except this isn’t really a store, and the equipment is an installation, of black and chrome musical stands — for sheet music, microphones, instruments — and some disembodied drums, that reflect the single light source in the middle, and that red-infused sunlight. The installation casts its own shadow on one wall, while on another a narrative video unspools. It’s a montage of a variety of people over the past 50 years talking about music. The whole thing is a terrific site-specific work from Daniel Milewski at Dimensions Variable, called “3 Color Sunburst,” a reference to the sound of an electric guitar.

It’s the latest in a commendable series of installations in this Design District space, which is really just the front foyer of the studio of five local artists, which they have given over for such explorations as “Sunburst.” Having to work within these particular confines is part of the concept (two other recent standouts came from Felecia Chizuko Carlisle and Carlos Rigau).

On this afternoon Milewski explains how the installation changed in his mind after he saw and worked within the space — with the dramatic red curtains, the angles of the interior. But then,  the whole premise to “3 Color Sunburst” is about how we appropriate art, in this case music, and give it our own cultural and personal relevance. It’s interesting that the video — clips of average listeners, and also of reviewers and musicians, talking about how music impacts them — contains no music itself. Kind of how the physical installation contains no actual instruments — just the framework for them. The original melodies and rhythms no longer belong to the creators (in the video and room they don’t even exist anymore), they belong to a larger cultural whole, where individuals have interpreted them and given them their own meaning. At night in this space, with the sun gone and the bare bulbs the only source of light, the shadows are much more pronounced, as are the video’s images. It, too, changes with circumstance.

Dimensions Variable lets local artists create without having the added pressure to sell (or even please), which is the kind of space we need to keep inspiration and experimentation flowing — however the observer ends up interpreting it. Milewski will also be part of a three-person, multi-discipline exhibit at the gallery that represents him, Gallery Diet, next month, along with Bhakti Baxter and Marcos Valella.

“3 Color Sunburst” by Daniel Milewski at Dimensions Variable, through Dec. 25; 171 NE 38th St., by appointment, contact, 305-571-2288.