By Gina Hyams
“Silent Acoustic: A Sculpture Conversation with DJ Barrett and Emily C-D” is a collaborative virtual exhibit by two San Miguel de Allende-based artists. They were in discussions with a local gallery to mount this exhibit when the pandemic hit. Rather than wait for life to return to normal, whenever that may be, they decided to present the work online, as their approach to art-making seems more relevant now than ever: utilizing whatever you have on hand to make work.
Though from different generations (one a Boomer and the other a Gen Y), the two discovered a kindred approach to making work from found and vernacular materials and, particularly for the purposes of this exhibit, wood. Both are also improvising musicians who draw heavily upon their experience as improvisors in their visual art practice. The exhibit includes an interview with the artists, still photos of their sculptures, videos, and a text by Zapotec writer and cultural promoter Victor Fuentes of the Galería Gubidxa in Oaxaca.
DJ Barrett is a musician and visual artist with an abiding interest in improvisation that informs his work in both mediums. As a visual artist, Barrett works in sculpture, drawing, and collage, and he has exhibited and been collected in the U.S., Mexico, and Latin America. As a saxophonist, he and his three brothers formed the seminal San Francisco new wave band No Sisters in the late 1970s. Later, he was a member of Club Foot Orchestra, which pioneered performing live original soundtracks with classic silent films. In the late ’80s, he formed the post-modern improv group, The Splatter Trio, which recorded seven influential CDs. Barrett has also performed and recorded with legendary artists, including Butch Morris, Sam Rivers, Tim Berne, Myra Melford, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Dead Kennedys, Snakefinger, Univers Zero, Mr. Bungle, Banda Elastica, Lila Downs, Magos Herrera, and Bobby Kapp, as well as collaborated with poets, dancers, and theater companies.
Emily C-D is an illustrator, muralist, sculptor, and seed saver, originally from Maryland, based in Mexico, and working on both sides of the border. She employs seemingly disparate realms of artistic expression—public and personal, abstract and illustrative—that comprise a continuum of investigation exploring the interplay between supposedly dissimilar but in fact very interrelated environmental and social issues. After 11 years living in Mexico, she is fully bilingual, mother to a binational child, has painted several Mexican murals, and played violin in the Mariachi Quita Penas, La Balconika, and Las Iguanas de María. She is the visual voice of the SOMOS SEMILLA Seed Library and last June joined forces with migrant rights activists of Otros Dreams en Acción for the seminal art action Florecer Aquí y Allá.
“Silent Acoustic: A Sculpture Conversation with DJ Barrett and Emily C-D” can be viewed here..