at Johansson Projects, Oakland, California
Recommendation by Cherie Louise Turner
Oliver DiCicco with Barry Underwood, 'Sirens,' kinetic sculpture.
Two enthralling kinetic sound sculptures, "Sirens" and "Anemone," by San Francisco artist, musician, experimental instrument creator, and furniture designer Oliver DiCicco, display both craftsmanship and refinement. The composition and finish of these industrial pieces is clean, smooth, and efficient. The standout is the eleven-part "Sirens." The multiple tall, wide, U-shaped forms, which pivot from elevated fulcrums, are lined up so that, when standing at one end, one gets the impression is of a vessel, the forms serving as its “ribs.” When activated, the U-shapes sway and emit groaning mid-tones akin to the sonic communications of whales.
DiCicco, an avid rower — as well as a several-time Grammy nominee for sound engineering — was, fittingly, inspired for this piece by the ocean. Sound is generation by water moving through tubes in the structure, which forces air through flute-like pieces. The random movements are wave-like and the sound has a lulling quality; one can imagine that the experience is not unlike being in the hull of a ship at sea. Elegantly effective, both "Sirens" and "Anemone" demonstrate the masterful coalescence of craft, sound, movement, and vision.
Also on view are long-exposure documentary photographs by Barry Underwood of moody nature-scapes, featuring luminous color installations. The technology-invading-nature subject matter and earthy, glowing quality offer a well-chosen balance to DiCicco’s nature-inspired mechanics.