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Burchfield Penney presents paintings you can hear

Charles Burchfield made some pretty loud paintings.

For him, the woods he ventured into were infinite symphonies, cacophonous in color as well as in sound. In his watercolors, he tried to capture the full sensory experience of nature, condense it into a series of symbols and then employ those symbols to replicate and amplify that experience for the viewer.

Many of Burchfield’s wildly innovative attempts are on view in “Mystic North: Burchfield, Sibelius and Nature,” opening Friday in the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.).

The show, organized by Burchfield Penney curator Nancy Weekly and on view through Jan. 31, treads on familiar territory for the organization, which has long been concerned with drawing parallels between Burchfield’s paintings and the music and sounds that motivated him.

“Research has revealed the strong possibility that Burchfield was synesthetic; that is, he simultaneously saw visual patterns and colors when he heard sounds,” Weekly wrote in a statement. “Burchfield’s special ability to connect sight and sound imbues his art with surreal qualities that invite viewers to share his multisensory experiences.”

Also opening Friday as part of the Burchfield Penney’s monthly free Second Fridays event is “Fluidity of Form,” an exhibition of abstract sculpture from the Dean Spong collection running through Aug. 21, 2016. The event will feature a performance by Buffalo bassist Juini Booth from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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