John King - ACQUA ALTA

August 8, 2021

The Phatory is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by John King fromFriday, August 20th through Saturday, September 18th, with a closing reception on Friday, September 17th, from 6-8:00 p.m. Hours: by appointment. Call 212-358-0028 or 917-324-0563 to make one. 


“I am a composer/musician who uses chance and indeterminacy in my sonic work. While setting some  5-character quatrains that are 4-line poems by the T’ang-era poet and painter Wang Wei into compositions for voice, viola, and electronics, I began doing ink drawings as a wider appreciation of his work. I’d always admired his use of landscape paintings to convey his existential views and his use of ink washes as a form of visual expression. At first, I tried to paint “things” in the same spirit of exploration, but I was always disappointed because none “looked” like the “thing.” So I decided to remove the “looking” and to remove the “thing.” Since then, I only work at night without light, so all I see is the whiteness of the rice paper and the varying density of darks that the inks and water create as I move the brush across its surface. Without seeing anything other than these transformations, I work without knowing what kind of images my gestures render until the next morning. When I wake up, I am always mystified and delighted by what I see and ask myself, “Who did this?” without ever finding an answer - I’m still searching.” John King 

King is a free-lance composer and musician who has written many operas, orchestral and chamber pieces including string quartets and live electronic compositions and improvisations. Part of his practice always uses chance, indeterminacy, and randomization of materials. These visual artworks are renderings of many sonic constructs - form, timbre, volume - which have interactive influences: the aural on the graphic, the eye on the ear, the process on the non-attachment to the final “result.”