“Synesthesia” at the National

InLiquid proudly presents Synesthesia, featuring the works of artists Andrew Chalfen and Melinda Steffy, on view at The National from May 4th to August 28th, 2022. Steffy’s methodical pieces and Chalfen’s energetic works both acknowledge auditory aural beauty in a visual way through pops of color and intricate patterns.

SONG 4: Ruination Day by Melinda Steffy, exhibition documentation

Melinda Steffy’s work is planned, logical, and precise in method and approach. Using her knowledge as both an artist and classically trained musician, Steffy works to translate the rhythmic, time-based format of music into visual color patterns. This is evident in works like SONG 4: Ruination Day, based on the song “Ruination Day, Part II” by Gillian Welch. In this painting, long and drawn out vocals are immortalized by long strokes of color, each shade representing a different note within the song. In this method, music can be both visually and audibly understood. She states, “my artwork blends color theory and music theory, revealing unexpected patterns that show the tonal and rhythmic complexity inherent in the music, so that what is normally heard in sequence can be seen all at once”.

Low Earth Orbit by Andrew Chalfen, exhibition documentation

Andrew Chalfen takes on a more improvisational and intuitive approach when creating his art pieces, stating “I let my mind wander, then cull, refine, and edit to make sonic and visual hooks, riffs, earworms, pattern, logo-like forms–I’m constantly iterating, forever tinkering with the process, and yet trusting the process”. Like Steffy, Chalfen is also a musician, and his artistic practice parallels his songwriting process, arranging and composing different elements to create a visual symphony of colors and patterns. This can be seen in most of his work, but especially in Low Earth Orbit, which is a cluster of vibrant blues, oranges, pinks, and greens, that radiate out from the center of the canvas in a pattern that is reminiscent of the reverberations within music. Dense in color, shape, and pattern, Chalfen’s artwork explores the richness and depth within music and the visceral response it evokes.

Additionally, both artists have provided music samples to pair with their visual works; Melinda Steffy offers a concise selection of folk music, while Andrew Chalfen provides a comprehensive playlist of electronic music. Folk music tends to have a discernible pattern and rhythm, in contrast to the spontaneity of electronic music. This auditory difference creates a visible difference between the two artists’ artwork. Electronic music is punchy, much like Chalfen’s vibrant color choices. Conversely, Steffy focuses on a stricter and more limited color palette, much like the repetitive tunes within folk music. 

Come see and hear Chalfen and Steffy explore the intersection of art and music in Synesthesia at the National. 

Listen to a curated Spotify playlist by Chalfen & Steffy here:

Yixuan Pan
Yixuan Pan
Rachel Blythe Udell works with fibrous materials to create biomorphic sculptures and embroidered collages. She has had a solo show at Grounds For Sculpture and exhibited in a three-person show at the Perkins Center for the Arts, both in New Jersey. In Philadelphia, she has shown her work at venues such as the Painted Bride, International House, and the Crane Arts Center. Additionally, the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation invited her to create a fiber art installation at Lemon Hill Mansion in Fairmount Park. Udell graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Art History, and has studied art and art therapy at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives and works in Collingswood, New Jersey
Rachel Blythe Udell
Rachel Blythe Udell

Rachel Blythe Udell works with fibrous materials to create biomorphic sculptures and embroidered collages. She has had a…

Rachel Blythe Udell works with fibrous materials to create biomorphic sculptures and embroidered collages. She has had a solo show at Grounds For Sculpture and exhibited in a three-person show at the Perkins…

Rachel Blythe Udell works with fibrous materials to create biomorphic sculptures and embroidered collages. She has had a solo show at Grounds For Sculpture and exhibited in a three-person show at the Perkins Center for the…

John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger
Kathran Siegel
Kathran Siegel
Annie Stone cuts out images and uses a unique technique to attach them to each other, interweaving them in a way that creates shapes independent of any background.
Annie Stone
Annie Stone

Annie Stone cuts out images and uses a unique technique to attach them to each other, interweaving them in a way that creates…

Annie Stone cuts out images and uses a unique technique to attach them to each other, interweaving them in a way that creates shapes independent of any background.…

Annie Stone cuts out images and uses a unique technique to attach them to each other, interweaving them in a way that creates shapes independent of any background.…

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