Peter Frank reviews Bernard Chadwick’s recent show in Artillery Magazine 9.27.12

THE TERM “SYNESTHESIA” NORMALLY GETS APPLIED TOO BROADLY. Whether or not we need to stick with Oliver Sacks’ insistence that it refers simply to a neurological disorder, we do need to acknowledge that “synesthesia” is not an arbitrary alignment of artistic disciplines so much as the automatic sensory response to the stimulus of a different, discrete sense—hearing smells, tasting colors, that kind of thing. Many artworks and theories have been created out of the creators’ involuntary ability to respond thus. Many more artworks have been created to establish more willful connections between sensory experiences and even artworks themselves, which parallels but does not actually engage or rely on synesthetic experience. Bernard Chadwick works somewhere in between that area of deliberate cross-platform alignments and true, or at least reasonably feigned, synesthesia. Indeed, Chadwick’s exploration of visual-sonic relationships seems to arise rather less from his automatic response to sound as color, say, or image as music and more from his intellectually somewhat distanced consideration of the possibility of such relationships.

— Peter Frank

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