Ted Vasin
The Sound of Art – “Non-Local Cues” Make Sense in Local Gallery

by Katie Barnes
September 2008

Ready to see what you hear? What if hearing was seeing? A trip to Bergamot Station, the stable of art galleries in Santa Monica, is just the chance to cavort openly with the intangible and its resident artist, Ted Vasin.

Inspired by dreams, this San Francisco-based artist uses his REM sleep visions and models them into a 3-D computer program, creating multi-dimensional shapes and forms governed by consistent algorithms, often without a fixed sense of horizon, all while finding and using sound through what he is painting.

The shapes are photographed in space from different angles, repeated through the works like sensory clues. This is Vasin creating a visual language, loose trademarks that the viewer recognizes within each work in the collection, yet those certain images repeat from different angles and perspectives. Multi-layered in technique, the canvases render pieces of pop cartoon, realism, and watercolor seemingly laid across an intricacy of technology-inspired images.

Since sound is key to Vasin’s process of creation and exhibition, the collection was accompanied by a live sound performance on opening night, the artist performing with his back to the guests and leaving the paintings and our ears to find the connections.

It is not music that Vasin is transmitting but esoteric sound that serves to arrest any linear idea of how the work “should work.” The electronic equipment he uses makes unsettling, discordant notes or bands of noise-which is precisely why within minutes, the canvases soon begin to take on interesting new textures, appearing to spill the sounds forth while intermittent silence causes momentary points of distraction, confusion; at other times, welcome relief. It shouldn’t all go together but it does… and strangely well.

Viewing his painting and sound creations as recordings, Vasin communicates imagery that is both culturally and socially evasive and therefore “non-local” much like the mind that can be everywhere and nowhere, coexisting.The artist also reveals a three-fold conundrum- that an introspective performer can prove to be a extroverted broadcaster simultaneously. And that holding back while letting out a tightly wound inner world is more about serving artistic essence than formal art.

The sensory effect of his work is often likened to another famous Russian painter, Wassily Kadinsky. Both referred to as “synaesthetes,” such people appear to have the condition of “synaethesia” a neurological condition where one sensory pathway once stimulated, can lead to an involuntary and automatic register of that experience on a cognitive pathway.

Russian-born artist Vasin received his BA from Moscow Art College in 1986. He served a residency at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and has lived in the city for ten years.

Also a recipient of the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Vasin has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide including the De Young Center in San Francisco and Sotheby's in Tel Aviv.Publications such New American Painting, Wired and Art Slant are a few of the noted publications in which his work has been featured.

Tarryn Teresa Gallery is a contemporary galley representing both local and international contemporary artists working in all mediums. It is located at the south end of Bergamot Station art complex, near the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

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