Glass Heart (bells for Sylvia Plath)

February 20–June 9, 2013

Glass Hearts (bells for Sylvia Plath)

Jenny Olivia Johnson, Glass Heart, 2012, installation view

It is with great pleasure that the Davis presents a newly commissioned interactive installation, Glass Heart (bells for Sylvia Plath), by Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory Jenny Olivia Johnson. Inspired both by Sol LeWitt’s series of etchings, All Combinations of Red, Yellow, and Blue, with Scribbles, and the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Johnson has created an interactive musical instrument to share the gallery space with LeWitt’s prints. Comprised of seven glass bell jars fitted with contact microphones and colored LED lights, the piece is triggered by touch, and combines light display with sound samples of a new composition written by Johnson for soprano, piano, cello, and percussion. Johnson’s work, a daring foray into the potential of intersecting emotional undertones among distinct pieces of literature, music, and visual art, is linked to synesthetic experiences, in which certain sounds evoke particular colors in the mind. Curated by Elaine Mehalakes, Kemper Curator of Academic Programs, Glass Heart (bells for Sylvia Plath) has been generously supported by The Mary Tebbetts Wolfe ’54 Program Fund and the Marjorie Baum Fund.