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The Hearing EyeJazz & Blues Influences in African American Visual Art$
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Graham Lock and David Murray

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195340501

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340501.001.0001

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Ellen Banks: The Geometries of the Score

Ellen Banks: The Geometries of the Score

Chapter:
(p.282) Twelve Ellen Banks: The Geometries of the Score
Source:
The Hearing Eye
Author(s):

Graham Lock

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195340501.003.0013

Ellen Banks paints nothing but music—not as heard but taken directly from the score and transformed, via a system of personal symbolism, into colors and shapes: “Music is my still life, my landscape, my nude.” Banks is unique among the painters in this book in taking music as the sole subject of her art. Her approach is highly unusual too: her canvases are based not on the sound or performance of music but on musical scores. Born in Boston in 1941, Banks studied both painting and music as a child until—inspired by Mondrian—she elected to concentrate on art. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York, in a house stacked with the canvases to which she devotes all of her time. The author talked with her there in November 2003.

Keywords:   musical score, painting music, personal symbolism, fine arts, piano music

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