School of Arts and Humanities News

CentralTrak Artist’s Exhibit Maps Sound to Image

Shannon Novak began his artistic career as a pianist – he composed and performed his own music at an early age. When he started working in the visual arts, however, he didn’t anticipate that his musical training would inform his craft.

Novak’s exhibit at the CentralTrak gallery, One Song, Three Composers, uses geometric forms to represent the intersections of sound, color, form, time, space and social context.

The installation examines sound as exploding outward from a focal point of three pianos set in a triangle. The three pianos represent the fusion of three theories that relate color with sound in different ways.

Shannon NovakShannon Novak

“It is this fusion of disparate elements that causes a ‘sound explosion’ with sound waves emanating outwardly from the focal point. The sound waves spread outwardly over time in three phases, which is represented by a unique blend of geometric form and energized color,” said Novak.

Novak came from his native New Zealand to live and work at CentralTrak, the UT Dallas gallery and residency in Deep Ellum.

“CentralTrak provides an opportunity for creative focus. The supportive environment freed me from the distractions of my life in New Zealand, and allowed me to deeply focus on a specific line of inquiry, in this case the interconnections between fine art, music and science,” said Novak.

“I’ve learned a lot about my practice and research as a visual artist, and my place in the larger art world. I came away encouraged and motivated to get out there and continue to make a mark on this world with my work. Being a resident at CentralTrak is an experience I will reflect on and be proud of for the rest of my life.”

On Saturday, Dec. 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. One Song, Three Composers will be closing with presentations from UT Dallas alumnus Richard Merrick and UT Dallas graduate students and poets Amanda Preston and Allene Nichols.

Merrick BA’81, MS’87 has spent 25 years exploring software design, multimedia development and Internet communications. He founded Postfuture Inc., which became Forrester Research’s top e-messaging technology provider in 2004, ranked fourth in the Deloitte Fast 50 and was honored in the Inc. 500.

Merrick has also published several books and articles on the physics, historical and social ramifications of harmonic science, which explores perception of music. Throughout his career, he has maintained close ties to the University. Merrick is a guest lecturer at UT Dallas and serves on the advisory council for the School of Arts & Humanities.

Following Merrick’s presentation, Preston and Nichols will present their collaborative performance, Synesthetic Ars Poetic, which includes original work created in response to Novak’s installation.

Full story available from the UT Dallas News Center.