Color, movement, expressivity, freedom of gesture are attributes shared by painting and jazz as both art forms evolved since the early 20th Century. Modernists creating visual art famously including Jackson Pollock, Stuart Davis and Piet Mondrian were inspired by live performances and recordings of improvisational music.
Lewis Achenbach is of that lineage, but goes beyond their responses ad references by making paintings in the very time and place that the inspirited sound spills forth. Daring to take risks as spontaneously as the musicians he admires, Achenbach is both observer and participant in their play, painting in public view while they perform. He simultaneously documents, abstracts, idealizes and subjectifies what he sees, hears and feels, resulting in works as joyously polyphonic as this music with its long Chicago legacy and rich contemporary presence. Line and mass are like melody and harmony in these pictures, reverberant with the passion and commitment that imbue jazz and painting alike.– Howard Mandel, 2017
Currently On View: Photos from the inaugural Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1969