THE POWER OF MUSIC ROLLS ON
by Taryn Plumb
Black ink dances up and down, left and right, intertwining in loops, ridges, curlicues, arcs, waves and pirouettes. Dark solitary streaks bob frenetically or lackadaisically and flatten out. Clusters of lines bunch tight together and then release in varied contours.
Interspersed between them, following their own systematic patterns, are punched-out holes, rectangular voids of space: short… short… short… pause… long… long… pause. Snippets of verse also accompany at random, beginning, ending and drifting off in mid-thought.
“…had our share, we’ve known the meaning of sorrow, blossoms of…”
“…reason, Jeannine, I dream of lilac time, your eyes the beam…”
Billowing out more than 20 feet, the roughly foot-wide scroll, “Dream in Lilac Time” by Lewiston artist Gail Skudera, is a physical manifestation of lyric and melody. On display at the Bates Mills complex in Lewiston through October 30, it is one of more than two dozen works that interpret, manipulate and alter vintage rolls from self-playing pianos.
As part of “The Piano Roll Project: Shared Sensibilities,” 30 artists painted, drew, wove, sewed, wrote, cut, tore and incorporated collage and repetition as a means to meld abstract and geometric patterns, pastoral scenes and contemporary themes with the enduring power of music. Crafted of continuous rolls of perforated paper, a few measuring as long as 40 feet, they are spread throughout the second floor of the 19th century Bates Mill Complex. Some entwine multiple supportive posts in the rehabbed industrial space; others span their full length along walls and beams; a few drape and dangle from the rustic ceiling.