Susannah Israel: Concert, 2019
Concert is a ceramic installation piece composed of four choral singers, a flute player and a cellist. Music has a profound spiritual effect on its listeners, which is depicted in the expressions and gestures of the sculptural ensemble. The installation was scheduled for the Oakland Art Murmur, but unfortunately it was locked down on the morning of the event and did not ever have a public viewing.
The full installation, the concept and the evolution of the grouped pieces have many sources. ”Coming together with purpose and some force” is the definition of the word concert, which I find provocative and engaging. My inspirations are broad-ranging, from the discovery of a beautiful child prodigy with a cello to Carl Van Vechten beating his fist on the knee of an adjacent concertgoer, overcome with passion by at the Sacre du Printemps(Rite of Spring) premier in Paris, a day in a one-hundred year-old California succulent garden, and the discipline and focus demanded of us by each of our muses.
The soloist in Violoncello is based upon a remarkable young musician named Ifetayo Ali, whose extraordinary gift was evident in her playing at the early age of six. I viewed her videos and interviews while constructing Violonello. Her astonishing ability, beauty, youth and poise captivated me immediately. Sculpting a cello player is an amazing education in music appreciation. Ultimately, the final form and style of the piece was determined by a lovely performance by Ifetayo at the age of 10 years old, playing beautifully with exquisite command of her instrument.
The flute player is based upon Bay Area musician and artist Kystal Nzoiwu, another remarkable musician whose flute playing holds its own with clarity and beauty in the eleven-instrument band Sun Hop Fat.
The four choral singers are drawn from many different experiences with the power of the human voice, which I have experienced firsthand from classical to jazz to gospel music. Their costumes are directly inspired by the dresses of the quinceañeras in the Fruitvale district where I live.
These were my muses during the six-month work period in my studio. While the full piece may not have been presented at a public event, the ideas and the work remain, acting together and with some force.
- Violoncello, 2019, terracotta, engobes, 35x25x23in
- Violoncello, 2019, terracotta, engobes, detail
- Flute Player, 2019, detail
- Flute Player, 2019, terracotta, engobes, 30x26x21
- Singer 1 (right), 2019, terracotta, engobes 54x29x19
- Singer 2, 2019, terracotta, engobes, 51x25x19in
- Singer 3, 2019, terracotta, engobes, 50x24x17in
- Singer 4, 2019, terracotta, engobes, 52x25x21in
- Concert, 2019, terracotta, engobes, 54x108x70in