Rachel Coad's Art of Sound

Exhibiting in Margaret River, WA
 Beth Taylor

The Art of Sound is a new touring art exhibition, funded by the NCITO (National Cultural Institution Touring and Outreach) program, which seeks to create and explore intersections between visual art and sound.

The NFSA partners with regional galleries, asking their curators to listen to a palette of iconic Australian sounds, curated by our Sound team, and select pieces from their collections which ‘speak to’ the sounds. Sound specialist James Hurley then formulates the best way to exhibit the pieces alongside one another so the conversation between them can unfold. Hurley employs a range of directional speakers, sound domes and headphones, depending on the type and scale of both works and the other works around them.
Frontier I (2012), oil on linen by Rachel Coad

West Australian artist Rachel Coad is one of the artists whose work, Frontier I (right), features in the latest Art of Sound exhibition in Margaret River, WA (9 June – 15 September 2013).

Listening to music is a big part of Coad’s art practice – she gravitates towards ‘moving, dark’ soundtracks such as Radiohead while she’s painting.

‘People say that there’s movement and rhythm in my work,’ says Coad, but she hastens to add that she herself is no musician.

The sound piece that features alongside Coad’s artwork is Ros Bandt’s ‘Tank Piece No.8’ (1979), recorded in a wheat silo in outback Australia. Bandt has been working as a composer, performer, researcher and writer for the last 35 years. Her body of work includes interactive sound installations, sound sculptures, sound playgrounds and spatial music systems exhibited both nationally and internationally. Bandt received the NFSA Cochrane Smith Award for Sound Heritage in 2012.

‘Tank Piece No. 8’ — Ros Bandt (1979). Move Records MS3035. Courtesy Ros Bandt. Availability: Move Records: Improvisation in Acoustic Chambers CD. NFSA title: 230121


Artist Rachel Coad says ‘Tank Piece No.8’ ‘has an ethereal feel and flow’. ‘I feel it has picked up on the slow though purposeful movement which appears in my paintings. It uses delicate layers of sound accompanied with intense streams of sound, much like my application of paint. I feel there are several stories being told in this piece all at the same time, moving in and out of layers of sound.’

Coad adds ‘It’s interesting that [‘Tank Piece No. 8’] was recorded in a wheat silo in outback Australia. I grew up on a wheat farm in Western Australia so I am very familiar with wheat silos and the feel of the bush and contrast of modern Australia.’ Coad creates large, bold portraits of humans and jet aircraft (her other passion is flying and she is learning to fly Cessna aircraft in her spare time). She says that the scale of her paintings is perhaps something to do with having had ‘acres and acres to wander around in’ as a child.

The Art of Sound (Margaret River)
Exhibition: 9 June – 15 September 2013
Curator Sound Forum: 9 June, 10am
Opening Hours: Open 7 days, 10am – 5pm
Holmes à Court Gallery at Vasse Felix
Corner Tom Cullity Drive and Caves Road, Cowaramup WA
(08) 9756 5000

Connect with Rachel Coad on Facebook, or visit her website.