Potophonics show at Orphic


Roxbury — Orphic Gallery has announced the opening of a new exhibition – Potophonics by Edward Potokar. This collection of musical instruments and sound sculptures will open at the gallery with a reception on Friday, July 5 from 6 until 9 p.m. and a musical performance at 8 p.m.

Edward Potokar, the son of a Latin Jazz and Polka drummer, began creating musical instruments during his teenage years in Cleveland, OH. He continued working in musical innovation at The Cleveland Institute of Art where he studied industrial design. As with many of the pioneers of the punk and new wave era, he joined his first band, Redness, while in art school in which he played a custom welded steel drum kit with hammers and grinders.

Potokar began experimenting with the construction of one-of-a-kind analog synthesizers, which he termed “the boxes,” that helped create the signature sound and serve as the foundation for the renowned punk/funk/art/metal/wave musical group, the Audio Artists. After moving to New York in the early 1980s, he has continued to perform and record with the Audio Artists but has also performed with Skin Slappers (an all percussion band), and The Buddy Scott Trio, with whom he had a cult hit Bar-B-Que off their You Win CD.

Potophonics will be a retrospective of his inventive career and will feature samples of virtually all types of novel musical instruments he has created. On display will be samples of the boxes he has constructed, various sound sculptures and percussive instruments, and dazzling stringed instruments. Of particular interest will be the presence of stumpf fiddles – traditional stringed instruments that incorporate percussive elements used in old world polka bands that Potokar has modernized in his characteristically original style.

Soundwall show
Some pieces in Potophonics will be of recent vintage from his highly acclaimed Soundwall exhibit that he mounted at JohnHoushmand Projects, a distinguished Soho furniture gallery in January 2013. These exquisite works represent a daring synthesis of musical instruments and furniture which one critic heralded as “… the future of sound architecture.” The opening of the exhibit was attended by close to 500 people and had an air of excitement and engagement harkening back to the downtown art scene of the early/mid-eighties.

The opening of the Potophonics exhibit will feature a performance by some members of Audio Artists and other musicians who have accompanied Ed Potokar in his acoustimelogical explorations.
In addition to the performance, there will also be impromptu demonstrations of the sonic capability of select pieces in the exhibit.

Workshop planned
The closing weekend of Potophonics will be celebrated by a workshop and concert at Spillian: A Place to Revel, a new retreat center in Fleischmanns. On Saturday, Aug. 24, Spillian will offer Re-Birth of the Stumpf Fiddle, a hands-on workshop for participants to create their own stumpf fiddle, followed by a concert/session by Potokar and musicial colleagues on his instruments.
For more information, please see orphicgallery.com and potophonics.com.