Leaving Colours Time

Filter Drawings


JANUARY 15, 2011






Please join NOMA Gallery for the record launch of afterlight, the new 10-inch vinyl album by Ishan Clemenco. Released in conjunction with his current exhibition at NOMA Gallery; Leaving Colours Time, the album, pressed on yellow vinyl, features a work for “found” piano and a site-specific, binaural recording of vintage Hermes typewriter sound made at Headlands Center for the Arts. The record jacket cover is designed by the artist and includes an offset-printed text insert with liner notes by Dean Smith.

afterlight (1998) is the recorded fragment of a cycle of work utilizing “found pianos”,
discovered in old churches, theatres and music rooms. These instruments were found to have “atmospherically” tuned themselves, or were coaxed into true intonation, when the condition of equal temperment was overcome by extended playing around a particular tonal center, allowing the piano strings to be pulled into sonic resonance with the overtone series.

This in- tuneness engenders an extended exploration of true interval relationships over ostinato sequences of cross-handed playing where notes are added and inversions constructed to achieve a fluid mesh of rhythmic structure and harmonic resonance across several registers.

Many of these sequences were realized after walking on remote coastlines, recorded at twilight, in long sessions. The sound of the piano here resembles that of the tambura, absorbing the overtones generated by primary interval relationships into an overall resonance. Hand patterns adapted to piano performance were developed through the study of tala in Karnatic music with ghatam master T.H. Vinayakram, in the 1970s.

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Leaving Colours Time

Opening reception: Saturday, November 20, from 6 to 8 pm

N O M A Gallery is pleased to present Leaving Colours Time, an exhibition of works by Ishan Clemenco.  Included in the show are an installation of chalkline drawings on color light filters and film negative strips, and a site-specific work on a large optical filter roll which will be set into the west window of the gallery.

The filter drawings are concerned with reflective, solid-core color values in ultra-low relief. Nearly as flat as paint fields on walls, optical filters are employed for their integral color and their transparent induction of available light. Drawings on 2 ¼- inch black and white negatives, mounted on stainless steel armatures, are also included in the exhibition.

Chalkline marking instruments are tools used to establish long, straight layout lines in engineering and construction. Gathered from traditional use by unknown carpenters and engineers, the found chalkline vessels utilized in the filter drawings are re-filled with hand-ground pigments and re- strung with cords of various thicknesses. The release of the snapped chalk line leaves an electrostatic impression of powdered pigment on the sensitive surface of the light filter that is indelible, though the drawings are fragile, as any work on paper remains.

 Gutters, formed with the bottom edge of the filter, collect the deposit of residual color dust falling below each snap, allowing the accumulation of a shoal of pure pigment, extending the drawing in time. The exposure of the filter surface to the action of drawing is limited to an unmasked spectral corridor of white, pthalo blue, orange and cobalt blue chalkline marks. 

Ishan Clemenco began his career as a composer. Private composition residencies with Lou Harrison and poetics studies with Anne Waldman at Naropa Institute led to extensive Asian travels. He has exhibited extensively in San Francisco and in Europe. His work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SFMoMA Artists Gallery, smART (Münich, Germany) and, more
recently, at [ 2nd floor projects ]. A limited-edition, 10-inch vinyl E.P. is being released in conjunction with the exhibition.