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Gallery Page 3

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About Troy Van Berry's Painting; Artifolksymphony

When I approached Troy about creating the cover art for my CD Down to the River, I had no preconceived visual concept.  Instead, we talked about Art, Music, American Culture, and the Creative Process.   We collaborated in the creation of a deeply personal iconography.

  After listening   to the music, Troy created and assembled this remarkable mixed-media work. 

    The objects in the corners are artifacts from my travels:  the piece in the upper left is a very crude, beautiful and ancient basalt projectile; the rock in the upper right is a river rock from the Wind River in Wyoming, first layered, shattered then worn smooth over time immemorial; the piece in lower right is an obsidian tool from a more recent native Sierra culture; in the lower left is a flint scraper I found as a child in Illinois.  Scales of time from the geologic to the personal are represented in these rocks.

    The instruments in the central portion of the composition are the instruments I used on the recordings:  a 1936 National Trojan resonator guitar, a 1979 Martin D-35, and a 1989 Flatiron Mandolin.   r

     There are a total of 56 separate pieces.  After he conceived the basic composition, he assembled the multi-level frame/ display boxes.  He took photographs of the instruments, printed them, then , in a technique that echoes  the camera obscura employed by artists of the Renaissance, (as well the methods Maxfield Parrish and the Pre-Raphaelites), he used an opaque projector to transcribe physically exact images of the instruments directly onto the surface of the wood and paper.  He incorporated the natural grain of the wooden panel into the negative space of the sound hole of the guitar and also the used it to create the waves in the water images on the side panels.  After completing the rest of the painting and attaching the artifacts, he found vintage barn wood to make the outer frame.  He used key shaped stencils to create the keyboards in the top and bottom panels, and then drew the beautiful vines to soften the angles.

   Troy’s connection to American Roots Music goes back to his early memories of county fairs, farm expos and family outings growing up in Southern Kansas and the Ozarks.  Tr

    For me, this piece is a perfect visual representation of this music:  the feel is very organic; the palette is comprised of earth tones; the surface simplicity belies the technical complication; it is partially preconceived, and partially improvised; it combines traditional American elements in a contemporary way; and it uses universal images to construct a deeply personal statement.

 


 


Colin@ColinRossMusic.com
 

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