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The Flowers on Magnificat’s Cozzolani CDs

Ronald Chase "Rose"

Ronald Chase "Rose"

In working on a design for Magnificat’s Cozzolani CDs, I wanted the two releases to be clearly related visually without simply reproducing a template. For assistance I turned to my dear friend Ronald Chase, a remarkable artist in a variety of media, an innovator in the use of slide and film projection in theater design, and a teacher who beenĀ  a tremendous inspiration to so many young artists in the Bay Area through his Art & Film program. I had admired his work on several visits to his SOMA studio since we met in the late 80s and he knew Magnificat well, so it seemed like a good fit.

After trying out several ideas with Ronald in his studio, I noticed several framed flowers on on his wall. At first I assumed that they were paintings and was surprised to find out that they were in fact photographs that had been manipulated with a thoroughly “historical” device – a “xerox” machine!

As Ronald explain’s:

The flower series was the last group of photographs I created with a xerox technique on heavy colored papers. I had begun working with xerox as early as 1977, and my photographic work with movement and the body entered several museum collections in the early 80’s, including the Metropolitan Museum, Rochester Museum and the Norfolk Museum. The works also became part of the Xerox corporation’s private collection.

I photographed and developed the photos with various layers of silk, which reacted in different ways with the early xerox machines, the harbinger of what is now the standard Photoshop programs in computers. The early machines could be manipulated in several ways to produce sepia prints on a variety of papers. My work from this period included male nudes, movement studies and the flower series.

To me the innovative use of “old fashioned” technology and the resulting images, which struck me as somehow antique and modern at the same time, seemed quite apt for the project. Cozzolani’s music, though well over three centuries old, invariably sounds fresh and unexpected. Ronald very graciously offered the photographs for the recordings and the remainder of the design came together very quickly. A rose was chosen for the first release Vespro della Beata Vergine and a tulip for the second, Messa Paschale. Each time I look at the CDs I am reminded of how often Ronald has touched my life.

Ronald Chase’s Website

More of Ronald’s Flowers can be seen here

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