Sonic Art at WCU

Gauge 1, 2013-2015, three-channel sound and video installation

Gauge 1, 2013-2015, three-channel sound and video installation

The WCU Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center will open a new exhibition, Resounding Change: Sonic Art and the Environment, with a reception on Thursday, August 22, from 5-7 p.m. The exhibition will run through December 6. Co-curated by Carolyn Grosch, curator of collections and exhibitions at the WCU Fine Art Museum, and Tyler Kinnear, musicologist and adjunct instructor in the WCU School of Music, Resounding Change features works that use sound to spotlight environmental issues. “Resounding Change invites the local community to consider the environment in new ways,” says Kinnear. “The works presented in this exhibition ask larger questions about listening, ecology, communication, silence and more.”

Featured artists in Resounding Change include Matthew Burtner, Andrea Polli, Lee Weisert, Raven Chacon and Cheryl E. Leonard, among others. Leonard will be contributing two multimedia works that grew out of her five-week residency at Palmer Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. “Sound is a powerful, visceral sense, but is often overlooked in our daily lives, and in the art world, in favor of focusing on the visual,” Leonard says. “This exhibition provides an opportunity to experience how sound can embody, demonstrate and share aspects of our natural environment that other senses cannot convey.”

Another notable work in the exhibition is a three-channel video installation titled “Gauge.” Alexa Hatanaka, Patrick Thompson, Raven Chacon, Danny Osbourne, Sarah McNair-Landry, Eric McNair-Landry and Erik Boomer collaborated to create the work between 2013 and 2015. “This installation is designed to fill an entire room both sonically and visually,” says Kinnear. “Gauge” features time-lapse video of an ice mural the group created on Baffin Island, paired with audio field recordings. Chacon, a Navajo Nation artist, came on as a composer after the piece had been conceptualized. “My main role was to capture the sounds of the ice, wind and birds that one might find far out on the frozen sea,” says Chacon. “Many of these sounds were new to me, so immediately they were inspiring to capture, and later piece together into the soundtrack. My hope is that audiences develop an appreciation for the unique landscape of the frozen Arctic ocean.”

The WCU Fine Art Museum is located at 199 Centennial Drive in Cullowhee. For more information, visit

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