Sound and color combine at “Chromesthesia” gallery

Luke Spicer, A&E Editor

“I cannot even count the hours it took, the amount of space that occupied my mind,” Alex Gabriel mentioned on her Instagram post, sharing images of herself and “Chromesthesia” gallery co-creator Alyssa Tumlos. The two are proudly posing before an old CRT television displaying an overtone analyser of the songs Gabriel composed for the gallery.

Scrolling twice to the left on the post reveals a short video showcasing the innumerable notes Gabriel wrote in order to ensure the gallery’s installation at Adams 101 went as smoothly as possible.

“Chromesthesia” is a gallery showcasing four paintings created by Tumlos with four corresponding songs written and performed by Gabriel to accompany the viewer’s experience of each visual work. However, rather than being a set of four visually and stylistically unconnected paintings and songs, the gallery is focused entirely around the particular emotional features of four colors: orange, yellow, green and blue.

Each painting and its corresponding song lean into the traditional understandings of color theory associated with the different hues, making each of the four audio-visual experiences stand out in their own right.

Seniors Alex Gabriel and Alyssa Tumlos standing before “Orange” (Callie Gunthrie)

Tumlos described her work in the gallery as the tying “together [of] two of my deepest loves, visual art and music, in the most sensational and sensible way.” She added that “there was nothing that made more sense to me than to pair the two to capture and create the full experience of perceiving and deeply feeling color.”

If you attend Gabriel and Tumlos’ gallery, you will understand that any attempt to transcribe one’s experience using words would be an inefficient and impossible task. Indeed, Tumlos herself acknowledges the uniqueness of the experience, stating that the “inseparability of art and music in an art gallery was like something I had never witnessed before.”

This inability to put to word one’s own experience with the gallery is precisely what “Chromesthesia” intends and, in Tumlos’ own words, “it made me so sure that we did something right.”

“Chromesthesia” also provides a final piece crucial to the gallery’s visit: your own experience. As you exit the installation, a sign encourages you to record a voice memo of your own personal feelings and thoughts regarding your experience.

Tumlos and Gabriel sit before “Blue.” (Callie Gunthrie)

While the gallery physically closed this past week, your own reaction to this artistic experience will live on forever, immortalized in a sonic form, fitting for works of art that rely heavily on music. The gallery will be moving to an online format soon.

Gabriel summarized the experience of creating “Chromesthesia,” and also the experience attending it, as being able to “enjoy the frustration and tears as much as the success and smiles … that’s what art is, right? A space where these feelings and experiences hold the same value.”

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