On exhibit through July 6, 2013.
The Jackson Gallery at Town Hall Theater presents FRAN BULL: Sound & Color, an exhibit of opera portraits on paper inspired by Japanese woodblock prints of Kabuki actors.
Fran Bull has been collecting Japanese woodblock prints for many years, enchanted by their beauty. She is especially drawn to depictions of actors, costumed and bewigged for their roles. “You look, then you look again—because the woman shown in her feminine splendor is, in fact, a man! The nuances of femininity fully present, brought vividly to life with a few graceful lines, broad flat planes of color, ornate kimonos, the face in make-up. Yet, look again and you’ll see the actor, the man ‘underneath’. Here is the un-pretty face, and something subtly ambiguous in the mien of the figure.”
The fascination with this double aspect has inspired her to create a series of opera portra in homage to the Japanese woodblock print. “Western Operatic tradition itself includes every sort of character—women as men, men as women, gods, devils, angels, gypsies, clowns, even dolls. My portraits seek to echo the ambiguous nature of the Japanese actor portraits. The subjects are in disguise; they are playing roles. Each role is conveyed through sound, as the Greeks understood it—per-sona, and this phenomenon translates as a series of visual cues: the singer’s physiognomy is determined in two ways, according to the drama and with regard to the technicalities of singing.”
The exhibition will be on display through July 6, 2013.
Gallery hours are noon to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday, and for an hour before each Town Hall Theater performance.
The Jackson Gallery at Town Hall Theater
68 South Pleasant Street
Photo 2 (on right): Marion Anderson as AZUCENA, acrylic on handmade paper