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Album inspires art show Print-ready version

by Anthony Custode JR
Niagara Gazette
August 13, 2008

Some people see music when they hear it.

Mark Weld takes that connection one step farther in his show, "Mingus Called," opening Saturday at Lockport's Market Street Art Center.

The idea behind the month-long show is a series of paintings based on Joni Mitchell's 1979 album, "Mingus." Weld says he was inspired by the album, but he's not quite sure why.

"I'm a big music fan, Joni Mitchell fan and jazz fan," the Middleport resident said. "(The album) just struck me. I don't know why, it just stuck with me."

The story of the album itself is as unique as the show representing it.

"(Jazz composer) Charles Mingus called Mitchell and asked her to put lyrics to his music. Normally, his songs didn't have lyrics," Weld said.

Hence the show's title, "Mingus Called."

Mingus normally shunned lyrics in his work, but Weld believes there was a reason he wanted Mitchell to add lyrics to these songs.

"Mingus was sick. He had Lou Gehrig's disease and he wanted (Mitchell) to put lyrics to his music," Weld said.

The show features 17 of Weld's paintings, with each piece symbolizing either the music or the lyrics of a song on "Mingus." Weld said his favorite work is "The Wolf that Lives in Lindsey."

"It was the first painting I did (for this show) and the one I liked the best," he said. "(The paintings) came out kind of surreal, but it wasn't planned that way."

As is a hallmark of Weld's work, the paintings in this show are vibrant, according to Sally Bisher, assistant director at Market Street Art Center.

"Mark's work has always been very colorful and bold," she said. "He outlines his work with enamel, then colors it with brilliant watercolors."

The idea of doing an art show based on an album may attract a diverse turnout. Bisher said she expects fans of both art and jazz.

"The idea that you can take the sound and turn it into a visual will appeal to both (types of fans)," Bisher said.

Like all shows at Market Street Art Center, admission to "Mingus Called" is free. The reception begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, where refreshments will be available along with a wine tasting. Bisher expects a large crowd throughout the month and is excited about the show.

"This is going to be an awesome show. (Weld's work) is so colorful and bold it jumps off the wall," she said. "We also have three other shows going on at the same time, but this particular show will be spectacular."

IF YOU GO

* WHAT: "Mingus Called" by Mark Weld
* WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday
* WHERE: Market Street Art Center, 247 Market St., Lockport
* MORE INFORMATION: Call 478-0239 or visit marketstreetartcenter.org

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