Potophonics to Open at Orphic Gallery on July 5, 2013 with Reception and Performance

Drum Set by Edward Potokar

“ … artistic works you might see in an afternoon stroll through the Museum of Modern Art.”  Guitar Aficionado, March, 2013

The Orphic Gallery in Roxbury, NY is pleased to announce the opening on Friday, July 5th, 2013 of a new exhibit POTOPHONICS featuring the work of Ed Potokar, an artist from New York City and Accord, NY, who fashions stunning musical instruments ranging from electronic boxes fashioned out of Silver Jubilee tins to dazzling stringed instruments, to percussive room sculptures.

POTOPHONICS will open with an artists’ reception on Friday, July 5, 2013, from 6-9 pm.  The Orphic Gallery is located at the Roxbury Corner Store at 53525 State Highway 30, Roxbury, NY, at the corner of Main and Bridge Streets.  The exhibit will continue through August 25, 2013 and be open to the public during the gallery’s normal business hours, Wednesday through Sunday, 12-5 pm, and by appointment.

Edward Potokar, the son of a Latin Jazz and Polka drummer, began creating musical instruments during his teenage years in Cleveland, Ohio.  He continued working in musical innovation during his tenure at The Cleveland Institute of Art where he studied industrial design and his participation in the fabled Cleveland punk/new wave scene.  Potokar, together with Paul Badger and George Tegzes, began experimenting with the construction of one-of-a-kind analog synthesizers, which they 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.  Besides his work with numerous bands and musical ensembles, in 1990 Potokar founded MUSIC FOR TV, a successful downtown Manhattan music production house, and there was commissioned to write the theme music for MTV's "Unplugged." Potokar has created his own line of high-end ribbon microphones called Potofones for use in performance and recording studios.  Finally, as a side project to his musical and artistic career, he has designed & built furniture and custom homes.

POTOPHONICS will be a retrospective of his inventive career and will feature representative samples of virtually all genera of the multitude of novel musical instruments he has created.  On display will be samples of the boxes he has constructed since his art school days in Cleveland to the present, various sound sculptures and percussive instruments, and dazzling stringed instruments.  Of particular interest will be the presence of a variety 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.

Some of the 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.  (For the press coverage of this extraordinary event, see http://edpotokarsoundwall.com.)

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. 

The closing weekend of POTOPONICS will be celebrated by a workshop and concert at Spillian: A Place to Revel, a new retreat center at the former Fleischmann family estate in nearby Fleischmanns, NY. On Saturday, August 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 on the workshop and concert, please visit spillian.com/stumpffiddle.

With the performances and exhibition, the Orphic Gallery is honored to celebrate the singular achievement of Ed Potokar in the realms of both musical composition and technological innovation but more importantly to foreshadow what future imaginative formulations may be conceived by this exceptional musician and artist.

For further information on POTOPHONICS or the Orphic Gallery please see edpotokar.com and orphicgallery.com.