There are times when making art is the only way we can give voice to suffering. Regionally known visual artist Wesley Hurd and internationally renowned composer Eliot Grasso have collaboratively produced a multidisciplinary exhibition of art and music that intimately explores the depths of loss, grief and hope. “The Odyssey of These Days” exhibition and performance will premiere March 3rd and 4th at the Hult Center Studio in downtown Eugene, OR. The project was deeply influenced by the shootings at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, which occurred during production of the work.
The paintings present an abstract visual narrative evoking the intensity of human suffering and our journey beyond it, into hope. The music, composed by Grasso and performed by the Dréos ensemble, is designed to reflect these inner experiences; to lend motion and aural texture to unanswerable questions and inarticulate responses.
According to Wesley Hurd, “this series of abstract paintings formed an unexpected narrative in three movements: shock and struggle, loss and grief, and finally memoriam and acceptance of loss. Eliot’s brilliant composition mirrors these movements in music. The two mediums, visual and aural, present an experience that is larger than the sum of its two parts.”
"Hurd's paintings, and the complex emotions behind them, have inspired me greatly,” said Grasso. “The music I wrote in response to the paintings is meant to confront each listener with the raw personal emotions of tragedy, grief, and loss, and to spur each listener forward beyond that grief into an emotional space where hope is not only reasonable, but real." Rather than focusing on the political or ideological, Hurd and Grasso are interested in how we form meaning from life experiences, both good and bad.
The premiere of “The Odyssey of These Days” is presented by ArtCity Eugene, with the generous support of the Oregon Arts Commission, Andersen Construction, Imagination International Inc., GloryBee, Gutenberg College, Brenner’s Furniture, QSL Print Communications, and BlueTower Arts.