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Burchfield on synethesia

Charles E. Burchfield in Backyard, Gardenville, NY -

Charles Burchfield.

In reading the catalog for "Sensory Crossovers: Synesthesia in American Art," which opens on Saturday in the Burchfield Penney Art Center, I came across a quote from Charles Burchfield in an essay by Burchfield Penney curator Nancy Weekly. It struck me as a fascinating look into what drove Burchfield as an artist.

This morning at work a portion of Wagner's "Love Death" from Tristan & Isolde commenced to sing itself in my head. I lost all consciousness of where I was -- Gradually it dissolved itself into a different & unheard of melody that was the embodiment of my passionate longing for solitude. I yearned to compose some music when all at once I realized my work -- which was to be a composer of colors with rhythms, which would compensate for my inability to compose sound with rhythm.

--Colin Dabkowski


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