Sights of sound

Ted Vasin’s “Inside Out, Outside In: New 1,” acrylic on canvas, 2007.

Ted Vasin’s “Inside Out, Outside In: New 1,” acrylic on canvas, 2007.

If an electronic melody crashed into an iceberg, it might resemble “Inside Out, Outside In: New 1.” Visual and sound artist Ted Vasin, creator of the piece, said, “I went to art school and forgot everything they told me.” What he didn’t forget, though, was to continue making art.

Originally from Moscow, Russia, this San Francisco-based artist creates massive abstract paintings that echo the aesthetic of track levels on audio-recording software, which is rational; his artistic output is facilitated and inspired by technology.

In cool tones, layers of ragged, sharp daggers of flat color charge across the canvas and explode with convincingly three-dimensional CAD-like wiry and rounded shapes. Vasin sketches ideas for his paintings in 3D Studio Max, an animation software program, then translates them with acrylic paint onto a large canvas—typically 70 to 80 inches in at least one dimension.

Vasin makes his paintings “as big as possible, so it takes up the whole visual field.” The kinetic multitude of lines and overall size of the pieces engulf the viewer into his world. He points out that the shapes before the viewers’ eyes don’t necessarily depict anything other than “a representation of something hard to express. Words are limiting. This is the language of forms.”

Vasin’s sonic language also consists of electronically influenced sparsity and clash, just as his visual language does. He articulates in atmospheric, layered tracks of “different digital instruments” and the occasional vocal sample. His sound is a fitting accompaniment to his visual pronunciations; it whirs, swirls, clicks, resonates and pauses like the negative space in his paintings, before fuzzing the air with cold bass tones again. The combination of seeing Vasin’s paintings and hearing his electronic noise is a pretty compelling argument to what sound may look like.

Vasin’s sights and sounds will be exhibited at the Davis Art Center until July 25. He will be performing his sound art during the opening on Friday, July 11. The reception is 7 to 9 p.m., 1919 F Street, Davis; (530) 756-4100.