Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Merger of Music and Image

Pink Floyd, Division Bell
©Copyright Protected.
During the past half century or more, music and visual image have been fused together so that they are now inseparable. Hearing the first few bars of a song does not only “unfold” the whole song’s identity, its meaning and its presence in our consciousness. Those same few bars also evoke the images we directly associate with the song itself. 
Whether the visual prompt is the artwork that appears on the cover of an album or a picture of the performer(s) who recorded a song, our minds generate music and image simultaneously. One might hear a song and our mind immediately provides a picture of cover art of the album the song is on. Or one might catch sight of an album cover, Abbey Road for example, or Dark Side of the Moon, and a reservoir of songs will begin playing from our memories. We might even begin unconsciously humming a song from an album long after seeing its cover image.
Yes, Tales from Topographic Oceans
©Roger Dean
Most of us have favorite musicians or bands. The images we associate with them and their music become synonymous and interconnected and they become endowed with a personal kind  of magnetism, a gravitational force that draws us into our imaginations. Whether in the form of a photographic portrait or the cover of an album, like the DNA that is woven through the music and image, it extends in some way to our own lives and experiences, what we value, who we are, how we see ourselves. 
We offer one of the most impressive collections, the best of the best, of the faces and images of Rock, Jazz, Blues, Hip Hop and other forms of music that binds our culture together. The reason we have embraced this kind of iconography and make it part of who we are and what we do at our downtown San Francisco gallery as well as on our website is because music and the symbols it gives birth to are intrinsically part of our lives as, by definition, they are part of our cultural environment. Both the duty and the thrill of exhibiting art and images produced for and by society is how we believe we fulfill our mission as an art gallery.

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