“At first glance this work appeared to be a carpet of flowers emerging from the ether. I saw an otherworldly garden of paradise, with flowers borrowed from different aesthetic forms commingling with essence or energy – which to me were the connecting dots, the spirit and hand of the artist.
“I set down my initial musical ideas quickly and intuitively (using both violin and erhu), and then started the work of arranging and rearranging the elements, and adding electronic effects, in a process much like making a collage.”
About the Artwork
The Square Root of Paradise
Artist: Miriam Schapiro, American (b. Canada), 1923 – 2015
Medium: Acrylic paint and fabric on canvas
Credit Line: Purchase, in memory of Diana Gilmore, NEA and matching funds given by Friends of Art
Object Number: 1980/1.1
Collection of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts – Visit website
About the Musician
Helen Yee is a violinist and composer with experience in a broad range of genres. Often incorporating violin with live looping and electronics, she creates evocative solo and collaborative work.
With her work for the plays Miss Julia and Pillowtalk she has toured New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Europe, and South America. In 2020, she composed and performed music for the New York premier of Lovesong (Imperfect), written and directed by José Rivera. Her work creating music for dance companies includes collaborations with Mark Lamb Dance, Chris Ferris and Dancers, and Kinesis Project Dance Theatre.
Helen was a founding member of Invert, a string quartet that released three CDs of original music with roots in rock, jazz and world music, and she later joined the eclectic Trio Tritticali. Her musical studies began with Western classical and traditional Chinese training and, after earning her BA at Yale University, she played in rock bands and studied privately with jazz and improvisation teachers in New York City. Helen has been honored to be a fellow at Music Omi International Musicians Residency.
Now residing in Kalamazoo, she has presented her solo work locally and has also been performing jazz manouche with The Birdseed Salesmen.