The depth of mind-body connections, the scientific art behind the human heartbeat, the physical and mental reaction to thought-provoking musical beats. These are a few of the subjects explored by the late visual artist and free jazz percussionist Milford Graves in his most recent and last work, the Heart Harmonics: sound energy, and natural healing phenomena; a thoughtful combination of fully immersive experiences that range from audio-video installations to hand-painted pieces. On view at New York’s Fridman Gallery until July 7.
Throughout his career, Graves passionately looked to explore the connection between the vibrations of his percussive instruments and the unique rhythm of heartbeats; “biological music, a synthesis of the physical and mental, a mind-body deal,” as the artist stated. Heart Harmonics promotes an environment comprehending three bodies of work that surround the human heart theme in completely different ways, from the exploration of its vibration as a painting technique to the one-of-a-kind melodies that Graves called ‘heart music’ and were crafted by him while curating recordings of an electrocardiogram.

In the extension of his work, Milford Graves looked not only to combine the visual and audible arts, but also at the intricate relations between the scientific and artistic aspects of human biology. His acrylic paintings bring every inch of the canvas it’s in — which can range from a vinyl sleeve to a wind gong — to life, with bright colours and shapes. At the same time, a sense of balance and sobriety is brought by the artist’s study of the sound waves of heartbeats, resulting in completely symmetric images.

Graves was passionate about many things and found in the study of the heart a deep sense of unity of great relevance. This exhibition is the culmination of a lifelong scientific study and, an equally explored, visual artistic expression.
Milford Graves Metalmagazine 1.jpg
Untitled 6, 2020
Milford Graves Metalmagazine 6.jpg
Untitled 4, 2020
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Untitled 14, 2020
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Japan, 2020