Theme and Variations

“Theme and Variations” is a set of 5 acrylic paintings on canvas and is a vibrant and bold work representing the themes and variations that happen in music. I was inspired by a call for art based around the essay “Ornament and Crime” by Adolf Loos which described that ornamentation is a crime to society and humanity. This inspired me to create a work that was based around the idea that ornamentation does provide culture, and beauty to the world around us and is not criminal!! (of course!!!)

In the 18th century, it was common in Italy and other parts of Europe to decorate pianos with highly ornate details such as gold leaf, and carvings into the wood of the instrument itself. I pulled on the beauty of these antique pianos with a modern, neon twist.

The title of this set of paintings: “Theme and Variations” is inspired by the musical form that is its namesake. This musical form is where a simple, unembellished melody is used as a theme. It is then repeated several times with rhythmic, harmonic or melodic changes. We all understand the beauty of the initial theme, but it is only after the ornamentation of that theme that the music comes alive with many different colors and textures. This work is my commentary on how music speaks to us through those differences and brings joy and inspiration to all who listen.

These pianos can be sold separately or displayed together. Each piece uses similar colours, but none are the same. I used photos of old antique ornamented pianos as inspiration, and also was reminded of the old pianos in my parents and grandparents homes. These old pianos had so much character and care put into their creation, and not only are a beautiful piece of art and furniture but made beautiful music.

These are meant to be funky, cheerful and slightly chaotic pieces but the colours tie them all together. Each work has a title based on a composer who has composed theme and variation piano works.