Mandell: Thoughts on Noetic Series
"The Noetic series of artworks are meant to invoke a sense of spiritual feeling inspired by sound. The sound of a struck bell is powerful and universally attractive. A singular vibration, a call sent through the air that human beings the world over have responded to throughout history. What is it about that sound that strikes such a sympathetic reaction?
This question was on my mind for quite some time. Although technical explanations are interesting to me, about the tamber and shape of the vessel which is struck and then vibrates in a tight acoustic pattern. And although this information cannot fully address the mystery behind our soulful response, it does oer fascinating depictions of certain shapes which are unique to these kinds of vibrations.
Its my impression in general, that the eyes know more, while the ears feel more. I worked to nd the shapes that might bridge the two senses, and result in a synesthetic idea about intuition. The word Noetic is a conceit, a made up metaphysical term to describe automatic knowledge. The knowing of things based purely on intuition. While this is clearly impossible, I like the idea of knowing things without thinking. And it might be that the sound of bells is giving o that sort of message. That the soul can know something before the mind has a name for it.
In Tibet, the sound of singing bowls connects monks to the innite. The six bells in the Basilica at The Vatican, the largest one weighting 10 tons, marks liturgical functions. There are bells in every corner of the world. Noetic 89.3 might at rst appear to project something familiar, like the patterns on the surface of a pool of water, where a pebble is dropped. I don’t see this. I am seeing something more representative of the tension on a string instrument such as a harp or piano. The tension applied to the strings sets up the tuning and the possibility for harmonic notes, musical patterns played and sustained by the musicians contact.
I have developed a kind of visual tuning, using simple straight lines which I shape by hand through the use of digital tools. These tools extend what is possible with the hand, rendering a new kind of line, a new painterly space. A visual harmonic that is optical but subtle. I am looking for a steady state where a static image can seem to bow from within from the tension of an expanding vibration. For me, The painting depicts the essence of an experience full of feeling, beyond complete knowing."
- Henry Mandell, Summer 2016