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Notes for an Open Score is an experiment in the limits of sentimental expression. Using video, sculpture, text, and drawings, Elyse Mallouk reduces romance novels and pop love songs to their most basic elements: words, rhythm, tempo and intonation, so that their sentiment is made to bleed, silent and suspended.
The exhibition takes ubiquitous ways of expressing connection — ones that are repeatedly claimed and dedicated on late night radio — and directs them instead toward elusiveness through a systematic removal of information. In the process of looking for a common structural logic underlying familiar heart-rending phrases, new languages emerge. An invented system of musical notation transmutes lilt into a basic set of markings: drawings that have to be sounded out, and circles not quite informative enough to be sight-read.
The exhibition is structured as a pair of changing narratives: one written and the other material. Part of Notes for an Open Score exists as a font — letters are replaced by line drawings pulled from the vocabulary of love notes and lyrics: A becomes always, N never, Y you. With each programmed event (poetry readings and live music) the show will undergo a physical shift, altering the relationship between the objects, and changing their potential to be read.
Over the course of the exhibition, recognizable songs and phrases are translated into forms that are readily picked up — a puzzle, a hymnal, a font — but not so easily summarized, claimed, or contained.
A coinciding Event Series “Sunday is for Lovers” will take place in the gallery on November 7, 14 & 21 from 2-7pm. Live music and poetry readings will revolve around the theme of love. Poet Tom Comitta will curate readings by a diverse group of both established and emerging Bay Area poets. Featured musicians will include: 45isdistance, The Old Thunderhearts, The Lambs, Crooked I, Small Hands, Creature Comforts, Marc Dantona & Friends and many more TBA.