Michael Barth Meyers’s Sound Sculptures @ Johansson Gallery (Oakland, California)

The artist Michael Barth Meyers had an exhibit last autumn at the Johansson Projects gallery in Oakland. I missed the exhibit, but when I dropped by the gallery earlier this year, two pieces were still hanging. Both evidence Meyer’s emphasis on sound as sculpture.

“A Remoter Hello” (2007), pictured above and below, is a fantasy of two melded horns — think trumpets or discarded gramophones — capped with what could be one of Mickey Mouse’s fingertips, all marshmallow white and balloon-puffy. The two horns meet in the center, as if to explain why the piece is mute: the sound ends are muffled. The shape of the horn is approximated with strips of wood that bring to mind the latticework of a suspension bridge as well as the approximations of Fourier transforms, in which brief lines are graphed to suggest a curve.

“Remoter 2” (2007), below, takes a larger horn and twice bisects it, tilting the precariously attached pieces like hangnails or portions of a hanging side of beef. Thin transparent scrim cover the surfaces where the object was sliced, looking like the tops of drums. Again, the marshmallow white softens one end.

In his brief artist statement at the gallery, Meyers wrote:
These many-side polyheda recall ancient phonograph horns squashed into ellipses and then “broken” and hinged into misfunctioning instruments. The drooping, white blobs discharged from the ends imply a kind of “soundless” sound.
More on Meyers, including several other horns, at his webpage, studiomichaelmeyers.com, and at the gallery’s website, johanssonprojects.com.

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