Dynamic Duos

Show pairs visual artists with composers, dancer and a poet

By Alison Rooney

What happens when you ask a visual artist to inspire a musician, dancer or poet, and vice versa?


The Garrison Art Center wanted to find out. It asked painter Marylyn Dintenfass to collaborate with an artist working in another medium (she partnered with choreographer Andrea Miller), and to invite four other visual artists to make their own choices (three selected composers and one paired with a poet). Each pair’s assignment was to together present an interpretation of “color.”

The resulting exhibit, Color Composition, opens with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, and ends with a symposium and slam poetry session on Oct. 14. See colorcompositions.com.


Miller, who will perform at the opening, is the artist-in-residence at the Met Breuer museum in New York and the founder, artistic director and choreographer of Gallim Dance. She and Dintenfass created garments covered with imagery from Dintenfass’ paintings that became “skins” for the dancers.

Painter – Composer


Painter Franklin Evans partnered with saxophonist Lena Hovanesian, who visited his studio to compose while Evans painted. At the same time, Evans transformed the composition into “brush, color and image.”

Evans: “Collaborating with an artist from another discipline is challenging, rewarding and unquestionably a welcome extension of artist practice. I shared my process with Lena, then worked through her composition to respond to her thoughts in a painting.”


Hovanesian: “I was inspired to write a duo composition focused on rapidly shifting harmonic textures. I found it fascinating to not only see Franklin’s work in a continuous state of development and drawings he did in 1990 in relation to sound but also to respond to his artistic process instead of a finished product. For my next album I am composing music for a group of visual artists, including Franklin.”

Decorative Artist – Composer


Joyce Kozloff, who specializes in installations of ceramic tile and mosaics, teamed up with composer Carolyn Yarnell. Kozloff’s sculpture, “Rocking the Cradle,” has an overlay of a New York Times map of Allied troop movements of the first 10 days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Yarnell accompanies it with the final movement of a four-part composition.

Kozloff: “Carolyn and I met at the American Academy in Rome in 1999, as fellows. I rarely make sculpture, but we wanted the sound of music to mysteriously emanate from the art. I had created the cradle after our Rome year, during the invasion of Iraq. I described it to her, and she exclaimed that she had written ‘Cradle Song’ at the time of her son’s birth. The project flowed from there. This piece is so sweet and quiet, a departure for us both. We are already planning our next collaboration: bigger and louder!”


Yarnell: “We talked about collaborating in Rome, but I did not feel comfortable at the time with my concert music functioning as background or supportive music. My philosophy was that concert music is a journey, like a poem or story, which moves through time and must be experienced as such. But over the years, I’m developing a broader idea of what composition means and the borderless areas of visual art in regard to music, structure, time and space.”

Painter – Poet


Stanley Casselman worked with slam poet Ben Keating to create “Theoretical Ink Volume (red lightings sleeping with green lights no stopping in the town).” Theoretical ink volume refers to the amount of ink that can travel through a screen. Keating asked for a list of raw materials from Casselman’s studio — “everything that goes into a painting” — and then pushed each word and phrase through a “poet’s screen.”


Casselman: “Besides one ongoing project, this is my first collaboration with another artist. My inspiration was a serendipitous moment outside the opening of a group show in Brooklyn that Ben and I were in. I had no idea of his poetic genius. The subject came up and I asked that he share one of his poems and he proceeded to blow my mind.”

Animator – Composer


Brian Alfred created an animated video and asked Michael Lovett, the founder and frontman of the London-based synth pop band NZCA/LINES, to provide the score.


Alfred: “I have been working with musicians to score my animations, or making videos to their music, for more than 14 years. I thought Michael would lend an incredible feeling to animations I made from a friend’s photos of trips across the U.S. Collaboration always bring new energy to the process.”

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