Natalia Black

Green On Red Gallery were delighted to launch the first exhibition at the gallery of new paintings by this award-winning, Slovakian-born artist.

Musica Universalis is Natalia Black's first exhibition in the gallery and the first exhibition in Dublin for some years of new paintings, prints and glass sculpture.

The exhibition consists of miniature and larger scale abstractions on board, on canvas, on steel and mounted on the glass windows of the gallery. The marks made on each are gestural using swathes or layers of thick paint with single streaks of contrasting colour or a more complex build up in a profusion of colour. " Acrylic paint is both the medium and the motive in my work ", Black says.

From the first discussion in the gallery the artist seized on the walls of daylight that flood the gallery from all sides. The resulting grid of daylit, digital extensions of the paintings called Musica Universalis, ties in with themes of waves, craggy coastal outlines and even sound waves suspected in the stratosphere since Kepler. In the space of the gallery we marvel at the profusion and collision of colour in these dense, energy-charged paintings. These " intensely chromatic " as described by Aidan Dunne of the Irish Times, excite visually and musically. The smaller the denser. In the case of My Theory of Everything ( 2019 ) acrylic on board, 35 x 65cms, the paint sets off on a dive into space, held in suspension by the will of the artist, the elasticity of the acrylic medium and against the natural laws of gravity.

Natural observations and the inexplicable mysteries of the universe underpin these mostly abstract paintings. They are torn between tying down physical phenomena, reaching for philosophical truths and allowing the paint to be a law unto itself, with expressive, effusive, exhilirating results.

Musica Universalis, also called Music of the spheres or Harmony of the Spheres, is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies - the sun, moon and planets - as a form of musica. This "music" is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic, mathematical or religious concept.

Musica Universalis had existed since the Greeks. In a theory known as the Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution, and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear.  This theory intrigued Johannes Kepler who in 1619 published Harmonices Mundi, positing that musical intervals and harmonies describe the motions of the six known planets of the time. He believed that this harmony, while inaudible, could be heard by the soul and that it gave a “very agreeable feeling of bliss, afforded him by this music in the imitation of God.” In Harmonices, Kepler laid out an argument for a creator who had made an explicit connection between geometry, astronomy, and music, and that the planets were arranged intelligently.

Black is intrigued by this concept with a very interesting results and urges us to reconsider this almost forgotten idea which was known to almost every medieval and renaissance thinker and artist from Leonardo Da Vinci, Issac Newton, Emmanuel Kant and others to J. S. Bach.

She would like her paintings to also emit an audible music. As one reviewer puts it “the paint is pushed, bunched, stretched - its materiality made evident while the colours both flow serenely and clash vividly and noisily. There is noise as well as music coming from each of the images.

Natalia was in conversation with Margarita Cappock, Dublin City Arts Office, writer and author of the recent essay on the artist in The Irish Arts Review, Summer, 2019 at 1.15pm, July 6th 2019 which can be viewed below.









MUSICA UNIVERSALIS, 30 May - 06 July 2019


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