In the latter part of the eighteenth century, Johann Wolfgang Goethe opined, “Music is liquid architecture; architecture is frozen music.” Within his revered dictum, the preeminent literary and aesthetic critic presents the characteristic difference in appeal between the arts portraying statical forms in space, and those dealing with dynamic forms in time. The comparison, either way, is illuminating as it rests in a profound truth that a universal theme prevails and underscores all creative disciplines. It could be said that architects “paint” with materials, a composer “constructs” with vibrations, and the scientist “composes” forms and formulas using the modes of math and physics.
It will come as no surprise that Kennedy, who has spent the better part of twelve years building complex spatial paintings, would find both potency and resonance in the German’s writings, and upon further rumination, the artist found himself straying from the architectural mindset toward the musical aspect of the credo. Beyond the obvious, the auditory, his primary focus became the “visual,” its structure of notes, lines and rhythmic symbols, the conveyance of information, suggestive or definitive, and subsequently the field of exploration for his forthcoming show with Callan Contemporary.
“Notations”, the Irish painter’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, could be viewed as an organic progression of many of the components explored in previous shows. Systems, Substructures, and Syntax undeniably inform the compositional placement of a form, line or gesture, and whether it’s role is symbolic, connective, directive, or a combination of all three. Beyond the recognizable configurations of music, there are a plethora of languages adopted to convey specific things, as in the syncopated era of mathematics, when symbolic abbreviations replaced words, the choreographic notations of Laban and Benish, or the Graphic Notations of John Cage and Sylvano Bussotti. Interestingly, the Italian musician’s visual compositions were so dynamic and captivating that he began selling them as artworks.