Let the Music Play, a Virtual Arts Exhibition by Sue Graef
Review by Betsy Reed
My names Betsy and in this review I’m going to be looking at the virtual art exhibition Let The Music Play by American artist Sue Graef. This review is part of my Silver Arts Award which I am doing with BALTIC. I found the exhibition on Google available to the public for free via a website full of different art displays by a range of artists (unfortunately the exhibition was only available to view for one month, but I've included a link to view Sue's work below). When I first entered the website there were lots of free exhibitions to choose from for my review but I decided to go for this one because of the bright colour palette that caught my eye initially and made it stand out to me from all of the others. I found the way you viewed the exhibition very interesting and cleverly thought out once I clicked on the link to see Graef’s exhibition, as it was set out similarly to a virtual reality experience, where you could ‘walk’ around the space to see the artworks.
Here’s the link to the website: https://www.artavita.com/
And you can view more of Sue Graef's work here: https://www.singulart.com/en/artist/sue-graef-12789
Let The Music Play is a series of acrylic paintings, all of various different instruments, on stretched canvases. The colour palette is a range of greens, blues, purples, greys, yellows, reds and orange and the paintings are all made in the same consistent, pop-art style. The artist Sue Graef described the exhibition as "inspired by the musicians in (her) life and the beautiful instruments they play". She said that the instruments are "works of art in themselves" and that she loved experimenting with the intricate details of the various instruments as well as bold colours and her own semi-abstract style of painting. A lot of Sue Graef’s older artworks and exhibitions are in a similar style to what is displayed in Let The Music Play and personally I like it a lot, particularly the contrasting, bright colours. The exhibit includes a total of 28 paintings of 24 variations of instruments. Below I have included some of the artworks you could look at in the online exhibition space, as well as their titles.
My Exhibition Highlights
After taking the time to virtually view the exhibition and to look at everything in detail, I decided on which pieces from the exhibit were my favourites and why that was. I’ve included pictures of them here, but they can also be viewed as part of the main exhibition via the link in the earlier slide. My overall favourite piece was definitely ‘clarinet’. This is because I really loved the contrast of lights and darks with the body of the instruments’ dark, black colour and the keys’ array of greens, oranges, blues, purples and yellows. I think that this artistic choice made the unique features of the instrument really stand out to make you look at them closer than ever before, and it makes it clear how intricate the instrument really is. Another reason I particularly liked this piece is because I am a clarinet player myself, and I found it really interesting to be able to see it in a new light despite me playing it for a long time. The painting as well as the exhibition as a whole has made me realise that music is a visual art, not just performance art as I had thought in the past. My other exhibition highlights were both different stringed instruments: I really loved the paintings ‘guitar’ and ‘dulcimer’. Although I liked these two particular paintings for the same reasons (their colour palette and the perspective of their backgrounds) I found it interesting to see how different the two instruments were despite them both being part of the same family ‘strings’. I loved the different features and details of both paintings, particularly the strings on the guitar and the heart-shaped sound holes of the dulcimer. As a whole I enjoyed the experience of viewing the entire exhibition, but these 3 paintings were definitely my favourites and the ones that spoke to me the most.
After The Exhibition + Impacts
After I finished looking at the Arts Exhibition, I definitely left it feeling inspired to take my arts challenge which I have been working on for my Silver Arts Award in a new direction. My goal was to improve drawing skills in new styles and Let The Music Play encouraged me to look more at abstract forms of drawing. Although the exhibition isn’t actually drawings but paintings rather, I was still motivated by it to look into drawing in this way and how I could improve doing so. Afterwards I also followed Sue Graef on Instagram so I can look at more work she does in the future. I think it would be really cool if anybody who read this review also followed her on social media and took the time to look at her art themselves, as I found out that Graef is quite a small, unknown artist and I think her work definitely deserves to become more known! Below are a few screenshots of Sue Graef’s Instagram that I took straight after following her which show some of her other artworks as well as ones featured in Let The Music Play.
Thank you so much for reading my review to the end and I hope that you’ve enjoyed it! I also hope that if you do take the time to look at Sue Graef’s work that you then go and support her in any way you can, even if its just looking at her social media!
All images used with kind permission of Sue Graef. All copyrights and reproduction rights are retained by the artist. The artwork cannot be reproduced by any process without the express permission of the artist.