Robert Motherwell’s early work in collage shows a visual vocabulary in which cultural objects are discovered, distorted, and recontextualized through contact with other abstract materials. In this particular work [left], the image subjected to that process is a musical score. In unearth; distend; overlay, I take a similar approach: its primary materials are drawn from a conventional harmonic vocabulary, except here their tonal functions are subverted and instead subjected to a variety of sonic and rhythmic distortions. As each musical idea unfolds along these lines, it undergoes similar processes, sometimes parallel, sometimes in reverse — ultimately, those recognizable artifacts of tonality are repurposed as elements of a musical collage, changing over time.
(collage by Robert Motherwell)