Between the Lines

Fall 2020 Gallery Exhibition: Dream for Light Years

The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery was pleased to present  Dream for Light Years, a two-year collaboration between California-based painter Ali Smith and Blair School of Music Professor of Composition Michael Alec Rose. Visual artists and composers have long engaged in dynamic dialogues. The exchange of musical ideas and visual aesthetics were famously vibrant in the collaborations between Claude Monet and Claude Debussy, Wassily Kandinsky and Arnold Schoenberg and other artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The artist Ali Smith and composer Michael Alec Rose continued this conversation into a new millennium, allowing the Vanderbilt community and wider Nashville public a window into their process.  Access to the online exhibition and catalog are available here.

Michael Alec Rose is professor of composition at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, and a composer of symphonic, chamber, piano, vocal, wind ensemble, ballet and theater music. From 2005 to 2016, he co-directed an international exchange program between Vanderbilt University and the Royal Academy of Music, London. Rose has composed eight string quartets, all premiered by distinguished ensembles, at venues including the Library of Congress, Tate St. Ives (Cornwall, England) and the Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, Texas).

Ali Smith paints vibrant, abstract compositions in oil on canvas whose forms suggest complex organic structures and imaginary landscapes. Her brightly colored and heavily textured networks of lines and forms constitute a personal language of motifs and shapes. Smith received her M.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach, and has since had solo exhibitions at Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami and Mark Moore Fine Art in Los Angeles. She has been included in numerous group shows, including those at the Laguna Art Museum and Riverside Museum in California. The artist lives and works in Long Beach, California.

The artists shared insights into their collaboration in a webinar moderated by Leonard Folgarait, professor of history of art. Artist, composer and art historian ventured behind the scenes of Dream for Light Yearsin their discussion of the creative and collaborative processes that led to an inspired exhibition at the Fine Arts Gallery.