Collection: Karen Mosbacher - The Alchemy of Gesture

The Alchemy of Gesture

I paint music.

All my life I have painted expressions of gesture. Every touch of brush to paint and then to canvas involves movement. This process is the purest form of expression, feeling, and communication and is the most important tool in my work as an artist.

I have a form of synesthesia called Chromesthesia, which means I see sound in color, shape, and texture. I also have Auditory-Tactile synesthesia, which means I viscerally sense music, which creates feelings of expression and gesture in my bones.

Gestures of our bodies express or emphasize an idea, sentiment, or attitude, and allows us to communicate without words. After studying ancient languages and practicing the artful formations of their alphabets, I have developed my own gestural language to help me express how I see and feel music.

Alchemy is a way of transforming one thing into another for the purpose of creating and extending life. The conversion of one element into another is a significant part of alchemy. Art is alchemy, just as music is alchemy, and together they create overflowing emotion and beauty. In this series, alchemy refers to the choice of materials, substrates, media, and the chemistry of how they interact, as well as from where the specific gestures come. Every stroke of paint has alchemy, and a reason it has been used.

This body of work is a collection of music for unaccompanied viola, composed and played by some of my favorite contemporary musical artists. I love the rich timbre of the viola, and the story it tells. The solo voice of the viola is the perfect vehicle for presenting how I see and feel music.

Look deeply into the paintings. Listen to the music and see what I see inside the vibrations and feel the sound of the composition. See how I express my voice through painted gesture on canvas, much like conductors use gesture to lead a symphony concert, or a musician uses gesture to create sound. Painting music is the way I express music.

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