boston

Ellen Banks

AKIN GALLERY

Ellen Banks’ most recent exploration of contemporary synesthesia consists of a series of “Improvisations” (all works 1990) in the form of minimalist grids derived from the piano and vocal scores of Johannes Brahms. Three small mixed-media works on paper, entitled “Waltzes,” feature horizontal grids of acrylic, the color and geometric structure of which are derived from Brahms’ Opus 39. Two artist’s books, or “Songbooks” containing 12 and 25 pages are based respectively on Brahams’ songs “Dein blaues Auge” (Your blue eye) and “Bei dir sind meine Gedanken” (My thoughts are with you). Each handmade paper page of the songbooks, built up of layers of iridescent acrylic resembling the mystical gemstones turquoise, amber, and amethyst, refers to a specific measure of Brahms’ vocal scores.

For the last decade, Banks, who studied music and painting, has adapted the scores of major composers into

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the December 1990 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.