SOUNDS OF SPIRIT: Cory Seals & Khalib Owen
November 3, 2022 (Thursday) - 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Arthur Ross Gallery
Fisher Fine Arts Library building
220 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Musicians Cory Seals & Khalib Owen perform a soundscape of traditional spirituals and sonic musings to conjure a continuum of African American presence in dialogue with the Arthur Ross Gallery’s current exhibition John E. Dowell: Path To Freedom. SOUNDS OF SPIRIT is inspired by Dowell’s prints and performances with the Visual Music Ensemble. As Dowell explicates the dichotomy of the beauty in African American culture and the soft, white fibers of cotton against the violent and painful history of chattel slavery, Seals & Owen expand traditional songs intended for field work and devotion with modern technology to reveal the divine play that is embedded within diasporic music. By dissecting ancestral strategies of survival with modern technology, afrofutures are crafted with the foundation of healing and prosperity. Seals & Owen compose a score using recordings, synthesizers, voice, and clarinet to transcend boundaries in rhythm and melody, collaging space and time in the likeness of John E. Dowell’s multitemporal work.
This event is presented by Arthur Ross Gallery and co-sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania Department of Music.
Cory Seals is an interdisciplinary artist & community curator born in Decatur, GA in 2000. As a recent graduate with a Bachelor’s of Music from University of the Arts, he is currently based in Philadelphia, PA where he uses his practices including vocal jazz, sonic landscape, and improvisation encompassing voice, text, and contemporary movement as an expression of radical care and to create community around the diversely interconnected experiences of living in blackness and queerness. He is influenced by the wealth of cultural and spiritual knowledge that has been cultivated and preserved in the diasporic community. In doing so, he constructs sonic and somatic landscapes that invite the audience to join in the exploration of conventions within the diverse communities of black and queer people.
Khalib Owen is a musician and composer from D.C. and currently based in Philadelphia. Growing up in D.C. Owen was immersed in art from a young age, visiting local galleries, playing in the City Youth Orchestra, and attending high school at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. It was during this time that they learned how vast and emancipating the world of art can be and they are continuing to explore that world by completing their last year at the University of the Arts studying music technologies. Owen uses their writings to explore concepts of space, and our perceptions of music by use of tension and release. They use these two forces in their composition to allow for brevity in exploration, abstraction, and experimentation. Physical space is also important because it in itself is a viable instrument. Working with multiple mediums of sound in tandem with the space Owen hopes to make the music a transportive experience.
John E. Dowell, Jr., (born 1941) is an artist and master-printer. For more than four decades, Dowell’s fine art prints, paintings and photographs have been featured in more than 50 one-person exhibitions and represented in the permanent collections of 70 museum and public collections. Dowell is a Philadelphia native and Professor Emeritus of Printmaking at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Dowell was trained as a master printer at the Tamarind Lithographic Workshop in the 1960’s. In the 1980’s Dowell used his works on paper as scores for music concerts. Most recently, Dowell has been working on a large body of photographs illuminating histories of the Black American experience.