Monday, September 14, 2015
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Monday, January 28, 2013
"In essence, I am matter of light."
And even now, whenever you rest
on the broad shoulders of sleep,
or even when they cast you
on the numb breast of the sea,
you seek corners where the blackness
has worn off and does not persist;
groping, you search for the appointed spear
to pierce your heart
that it may open to the light."
On A Ray Of Winter Sun, George Seferis
Friday, January 11, 2013
Changing Seasons is the new CD by the Absentee Ensemble.
Recorded live at the New Arts Program - St. John's UCC in Kutztown, PA on September 21st of 2012.
True to the Ensemble's fashion, digital data was remixed and aurally enhanced through the magic and expertise of Bruce Siekman's Studio in New Jerusalem, PA.
The concert was an intense, one hour and seven minute experience of live improvisation, tape loops, samples, and pre-recorded environmental sounds synched with more that 1200 images of paintings, drawings, and nature images relating to the four seasons and Spirit of Place at Harryn's Studio.
Thomas Kort accompanied Harryn's bass and compositions with keyboards and sound events.
Ron Shira, contributing writer for the Reading Eagle, accurately portrayed the event in this review.
Michael Stephans, jazz drummer and musicologist, describes Harryn's music in the following comments:
In jazz and other improvisational music, we often say that our work glimmers and shines and resonates best when we are truly in the moment; that is, all parts of the cosmos are in alignment with one another and all of the elements of our work seem to spontaneously fit together in a mysterious but wholly welcomed and effortless fashion. The best music is like that. It stays with you long after the final notes have evaporated into the air or perhaps found their way to a higher starlit plane. Paul Harryn's artistry resonates in much the same way and reflects his love of the work of such musical luminaries as master saxophonist John Coltrane and composer John Cage. He builds a foundation which honors the modern masters, yet moves quickly away into a deeply personal realm unlike any other. In short, he is not only a visual and aural improviser whose command of melody, harmony and rhythm on both the canvas, keyboards, and bass is formidable, but he is also an important visionary -- an artist whose work ebbs and flows before our eyes and through our ears, creating a bridge between stillness and movement that stays with us long after the music of sight and sound has ended.
A short video of the event is available on vimeo.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
I was in my Santa Monica, California studio when news came of Bob Doney’s death. The email came from a friend who attended a recent event at my studio/home in Easton, PA. During an informal discussion about my work I was recounting some of the major influences of my career, and of course, Doney’s name came up quite a few times. Knowing I was away, she recalled the fondness and reverence of my memories and deemed it important that I be notified.
The news was more saddening than shocking since I knew Bob was getting up there in years. Also, I remember him saying “he’d rather wear out than rust out”, which was the work ethic he effectively imparted to students and other artists alike. He clearly understood the responsibility between the gift of talent and the effort required to fulfill its potential.
He was from the ‘old school’ of mentorship that didn’t mince words, time, or effort on irrelevancies or insincerity. For him, life would be too short at any age, especially since the task at hand for artists requires such an enormous amount of energy, focus, and commitment - prerequisites for finding, interpreting, and painting beauty.
But despite his no-nonsense, deliberate, and discerning character, he never succumbed to the cynicism rife in today’s popular culture. He was captivated by talent and art, whether it emanated from the canvas of an old master, a student, or the keyboard of a contemporary jazz pianist. Keeping your dreams alive and holding Art to higher standard were worthy aspirations.
Of all the professors I had through six years of higher education, Bob was the only one with the courage to impart the hard truths - that perhaps a person didn’t have the qualification or spirit to pursue an artist’s career and lifestyle. He fostered commitment, excellence, and never suffered mediocrity.
Though Bob and I are, stylistically speaking, light years apart to the casual observer, we always shared a deep and abiding love of nature and improvisational jazz. While I was a student, we spent countless Saturday evenings at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap ‘drawing the music’ - the spirit of it all; thunderous choirs of crickets, fresh air, and pure, unadulterated jazz by some of the most talented musicians around.
At one point during my training in traditional skills, Bob suggested I complete one of his commissions, which for me, was comparable to winning the Nobel Prize. Those were the benefits that he provided to instill confidence. Equally important was his ability to set challenges just when you thought you’d reached a zenith - most of which came from his casually thorough understanding of art as a way of life.
I’ve had dozens of art instructors during my life but only a few significant mentors. Bob Doney was my teacher, advisor, inspiration, friend, confidante, mentor, fellow jazz aficionado, lover of nature, art history, and most important - a kindred spirit along the path that Art takes us.
For days before hearing of Bob’s demise I was thinking of him as I set up the studio for an extensive series of drawings that will be premiered this fall in an exhibition at the Kutztown New Arts Program. In the same way that my own father's words “If you can draw it, you can build it” still echo in my head, so do Bob’s words, “Nail down the drawing Harryn”.
I will forever be profoundly grateful for the time I spent with Bob Doney - a humanist and an Artist.
Paul Harryn (NCC, 1972-1974)
Santa Monica, CA
May 11, 2012