Reviewed by Rebecca Sheriff
“Reacting to Music: The Artwork of Angela Cook,” on display at Binghamton’s Bundy Museum, is a colorful array of artwork, most in reaction to the music of renowned indie-pop artist Rachael Sage, who performed her vibrant and provoking songs at the show’s opening during February’s First Friday event. Cook’s artwork enhanced the warmth of Sage’s sound and the energy of her performance.
Sage, a self-described cabaret artist recently released her 10th album, and her comfort with performing was evident as she joked with the audience in between and sometimes during her songs. She even dedicated one to “the hippies sitting on the floor” as many people had come to the small space to see her perform. At another point, Sage asked Cook, “What color is this ?” as she played an instrumental segment on keyboard. Cook, who often paints her abstracts while listening to Sage’s music, described how the “movement of the brush” is inspired by the songs. This was clear as her bright paintings reflected Sage’s cheerful demeanor as well as her exhilarating melodies and music.
One not familiar with Sage’s music might have been distracted from her powerful lyrics by the jovial atmosphere. The song “Everything was Red” from her latest CD, “Delancey St,” provides such lyrics as “I spent a lifetime looking over my shoulder, looking for the wiser one/I want to be open and willing … to be the wiser one … for you.” A new song the crowd was treated to started out “ I almost lived with you, I almost died with you, you almost made me an honest women.” Another song, titled “Violet or Blue,” directly inspired Cook’s painting “Violet and Blue.” The relaxed beat of the song is demonstrated through the flow of the abstract while the intense colors reflect both the warmth of the song and its powerful lyrics: “Either you’re a liar or true, Either I’m a violet or blue, Either you’re a liar or true, my love.”
Cook’s exhibit, which will be on display through February at the Bundy Museum, 129 Main St. Binghamton, will leave you feeling warm and refreshed in this cold and gloomy weather. Remember to bring your mp3 player, and enjoy some Rachael Sage as you take in the artwork. (For more about the singer, visit http://rachaelsage.com/.)