Music as Image


Karina Utomo, KILAT performance still at Dark Mofo, 2022. Photo: Nathan Goldsworthy.

Music and visual art are richly connected. This exhibition seeks to elucidate the role of music in adding interpretative and experiential content to visual art, and conversely, the role of imagery in the experience and interpretation of music. Just as contemporary installation, performance and video art often employ music to accentuate experiential responses in the viewer, musicians routinely complement sound with image to help contextualise and promote their work. What underpins this mutual attraction? Does music satisfy a transcendental yearning sometimes diminished by the demands of critical seriousness? Does contemporary visual art champion conceptual ideas more effectively than music? Is there something particular to music that reflects contemporaneity more readily than visual art?

Many visual artists are interested in the way that sound influences viewer expectations. Music certainly extends the artist’s repertoire of possibilities—especially given the capacity of sound to exert a powerful and often under-acknowledged influence over visual perception. For some artists, music offers a more immediate, intimate and intuitive way of creating meaning in a work of art. This relationship has a long history, and visual artists from the modern era onwards have recognised music as a vehicle for abstract expression. Sometimes we don’t even need to hear music to feel its influence in art.

For this exhibition, Lewis Gittus repurposes vinyl to produce strange image/objects, Lucreccia Quintanilla invites us to consider the extra-musical object, Ilmar Taimre looks across history to explore the legacies of Apollo (the ancient Greek god of music), Masato Takasaka looks at the way that both art and music consume themselves, Karina Utomo takes us into the dark abstracted realms of extreme-metal and extra-normal voicing, and Justene Williams seeks to unite sculpture with musicality.

Curated by Cūrā8

The Artists

Lewis Gittus is a composer, artist and sound designer whose practice spans pop music, immersive installation, video and text. As a composer and recording artist, Lewis has released more than one hundred works on record labels worldwide.

Lucreccia Quintanilla is a New York born Salvadoran artist based in Narrm (Melbourne). Music, together with experiences of migration and living in diaspora, have been foundational in the development of her practice.

Ilmar Taimre is an independent researcher, multimedia artist and composer based in Brisbane. Taimre has produced and exhibited a diverse range of intermedial works reflecting an overarching concern with post-conceptual currents in contemporary art.

Masato Takasaka thinks about his studio practice in musical terms, having previously performed as a lead guitarist in rock bands while practicing as a visual artist. He describes his aesthetic as a playlist featuring the greatest hits of twentieth century avant-garde art, alongside the back catalogue of his own works.

Karina Utomo is a critically acclaimed extreme-metal vocalist and composer. Utomo’s vocal practice explores multi-disciplinary forms of extreme metal, experimental cross-cultural practices and extra-normal voicing. Utomo’s compositional practice explores the duality of intergenerational trauma and power, and tensions between tradition and rebellion.

Justene Williams is known for her large performances, video installations, photographs and figurative sculptures. Drawing from personal narrative, religions, rituals and mythology, channelling spirits of art history, transforming the prosaic through action, energy, and emotion, Williams attempts to conjure invisible forces between corporeal and intangible worlds.


JUSTENE WILLIAMS, I found something inside which I didn’t know was there (2022). Charlotte Roberts (voice), Lea Rose (performer), Keely Varmalis (performer), Sarah Goffman (performer), Grace Rosebirch (performer), Original sound design by Cūrā8. 3pm Saturday 1 October 2022, presented as part of Music as Image featuring Lewis Gittus, Lucreccia Quintanilla, Ilmar Taimre, Masato Takasaka, Karina Utomo and Justene Williams.
KARINA UTOMO, MORTAL VOICE (PERFORMANCE), 6pm Friday 21 October, 2022. Photos: Lucy Foster. Presented as part of Music as Image (feat Lewis Gittus, Lucreccia Quintanilla, Ilmar Taimre, Masato Takasaka, Karina Utomo and Justene Williams). Curated by Cūrā8.