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Music On Water

This project began seven years ago as a collaboration between Nicholas Ross (pianist), Kent Holliday (composer) and Maurice Quillinan (artist). It is an exploration of the ‘Golden Section’, which is a mathematical subdivision of a surface area or musical score, suggesting where the most important elements should be positioned.

The music in the exhibition incorporates a sonata for piano by Holliday, ‘Tzolk’in’, and and some short musical compositions by the French composer Claude Debussy, all performed by Nicholas Ross. The paintings incorporate the structure of the music, placing the golden notes or moments as lily pads. The images endeavour to combine the physical and emotional response that is inherent in our experience of the music and a pond in a given moment in time. The canvases are constantly worked over many years, slightly altering the colour, tonal and textural values of each, to greater enhance the emotional experience of the music and the watery environment.

The works are designed as meditative, emotional responses to the music and water. It has been said that ‘a photograph records time, whereas a painting gives the viewer time’, because a photograph will suggest something while a painting is the place, and like magnetic tape it draws in the physicality, the smells, sounds, colours, tastes of an observed environment. The river Corrib, which flows past the museum, is an important reference for this exhibition, reflecting the constant change both physically and emotionally which water and music has on us as human beings. Hopefully the viewer can find him/herself in these works and incorporate their own personal emotions and experiences into these painted surfaces, taking in turn what is found inside themselves out into the landscape, thus initiating and amending open-ended conversations between our present and historical experiences, the music, paintings, and environment.


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