Point of View

January 25, 2021 - To Be Determined

2nd Floor Landing, Hallie Ford Museum of Art

Please note: due to COVID-19 the exhibition dates may change

point of view \ˈpȯint\ ˈəv \ˈvyü\ noun (pl) points of view
1: a particular attitude or way of considering a matter
2: a position from which someone or something is observed

In this exhibition series, we invite members of the Willamette community to share their experience or interpretation of a work of art from the perspective of their area of expertise, study, or research. Each year we offer a new work, and a new "point of view."

Constance Edith Fowler (American, 1907-1996), “Tidal Drift,” ca. 1960, oil on masonite panel, Gift of Wendy Williams, in honor of William Appleman Williams, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Willamette University, WIL95.01

In this Point of View exhibition, Dr. Catherine Lee, Artist Associate of oboe at Willamette University, shares her music to explore Constance Fowler’s painting Tidal Drift (ca. 1960). In Alluvium (2016) for oboe d’amore and electronics, written for her by composer Taylor Brook, Lee invites us to enter a world created by microtonal drift, an experience she finds echoed in Fowler’s painting. Alluvium will be included on Catherine Lee's CD titled Remote Together, to be released on Redshift Records in 2021. 



Catherine Lee 

Dr. Catherine Lee

I am really excited to share my recording of Alluvium (2016) for oboe d’amore and electronics, written for me by composer Taylor Brook, in conjunction with the painting Tidal Drift by Constance Fowler. 

Alluvium (2016) invites the performer and listener to experience the world created by microtonal drift. In the score, which includes microtonal and graphic notation consisting of lines, curves and other shapes, I am provided with considerable freedom and opportunities to improvise. As you listen to the recording you will hear the oboe d'amore play long tones of microtonal pitches, flutters of timbral trills, tones blossoming into multiphonics, double harmonics and pitch bends. Throughout, I move in and out of phase with the accompanying tape of recorded electronics that consists of a series of precisely tuned microtonal modulations that gradually shifts the harmony over the course of the entire piece as it spirals through unfamiliar territory.

The title, Alluvium, refers to the sand and rock materials that move through bodies of water, changing the shape and form of the shorelines over long periods of time. I spent time looking at photos, and paintings of water while developing my interpretation, and I feel as though the abstract nature and clear sense of movement seen in Tidal Drift echo the in-between sounds, and the sense of gesture that you hear in the recording. Furthermore, throughout the score Taylor gives me directions such as play “[j]ittery, using alternate fingerings, and timbral trills". The speeds of the trills and embouchure fluctuations are influenced by how I experience texture in this painting, and how I would sound out the detailed white and yellow painted lines.  Later he directs "improvise melodically, with general calm affect"; here my choices are influenced by the overall effect of this painting, which is one of spaciousness, and water gently ebbing. On a micro level things move quickly, jarringly but on the large scale there is something grounded, a gentle wearing away. My perspective shifts back and forth between being caught up in the small movements, textures and lines to experiencing the painting as a whole from a distance. 


About Dr. Catherine Lee
A diverse musician, oboist Dr. Catherine Lee has performed extensively as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician on oboe, oboe d’amore and English horn in a wide range of artistic settings, including classical, contemporary, and free improvisation. She is active in commissioning new solo works that explore experimental compositional and oboe performance techniques. Recent highlights include performing Nonaah Trio by Roscoe Mitchell at the Park Avenue Armory, and solo recitals at Open Space and Now Hear This Festival. Catherine is the Artist Associate of oboe at Willamette University, and holds a Doctor of Music Degree from McGill University.


Explore more about Constance Fowler



Financial Support

This exhibition has been supported by general operating support grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.

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Point of View Exhibitions

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