Umbel Ballits by Dylan Martorell
The official description of Umbel Ballits states that it is "an overlay of responses to the underlying structure of sound and botanic form featuring hand drawn scores, performances and an evolving installation of plant based sound sculpture" and of course Dylan's exhibition is all of the things it says on the packet, but it's also curious, playful, inspiring and displays an excellent appreciation of the absurd. In a meeting of sound and botany Dylan has created weed music for a post deadhead generation.
Rather than being too tied to conceptual construction Dylan's work has always left space for accidents, room for error and remains the most contemporary of craft because despite it's outfitting as avant guarde 'fine art' at it's heart all of it ultimately has to do something, it all has a purpose, form and function and it works.
There is, however, a significant difference between Umbel Ballits and Dylan's past stream of consciousness soundworks : he has said of this project that he needed to teach himself how to read and write music in order to construct the intricate diagrammatic 'scores' that illustrate the space like a cross between sonic space maps and geometric string art patterns from the 1970's, and he has used the rules and regulations inherent in creating these reproducible scores to great visual and conceptual effect.
The juxtaposition of the plant materials, shanty town construction aesthetic and the highly ordered sonic diagrams perfectly articulate Dylan's effortless straddling of high and low art, pop culture and fourth world mythology, technology and nature. Think Sun Ra plays a gamelan version of "What Plant is That?" and you'll get somewhere close to where it's at.
Umbel Ballits is on at Craft Victoria from the 22 May until the 28th of June. And in case you were wondering, Dylan's hit pick for 'potato of the week' is the Dutch Cream - in stores now.