Lancaster photographer Matthew Lester and musician Jason Mundok collaborate on multimedia exhibit RiverSound Project
“I was down in Louisiana on vacation. The idea sort of found me.” These are the words Matthew Lester wrote in an email to me when I asked how he – a Lancaster-based photographer with a portfolio of mostly commercial and portrait work – wound up shooting a series of low-lit, desolate, industrial landscapes set on the lower Mississippi River this past December. His usual human models swapped out for massive barges at rest in the darkened waters.
Those images are on display this evening for a special First Friday exhibition at The Arch, a new art space in downtown Lancaster at 118 North Water Street. More than your typical stand, stare and mingle art gallery experience, however, the event offers an extra level of artistry as fellow Lancastrian Jason Mundok (of Wood Stove House, founder of the Lancasphere ambient music series and songwriter for newly formed atmospheric rock project, Here Inside) provides music scored specifically for the showing. Together, the art-and-music exhibit is titled the RiverSound Project.
“It’s definitely a departure from my other work,” Lester explains. “I feel that personal projects feed me creatively and help my vision expand. I’ve always been attracted to the working at the edge of light – low light situations where cinematic light happens naturally.”
Though the concept began simply as a photo project for Lester, the idea for RiverSound Project didn’t begin to take form until he showed the photos to Mundok. Both are members of The Candy Factory coworking space in downtown Lancaster – Lester for his commercial photography business and Mundok for his custom business applications development work – and have work spaces adjacent each other. Though their work hasn’t much overlapped professionally, the pair had over time developed an interest in each other’s creative leanings outside the nine-to-five world.
“When I started dreaming up the Lancasphere concert series, Matt inevitably knew about it and came to the first couple shows,” recounts Mundok. “He photographed the January concert which has become a benchmark for how those shows are now being presented visually.” Increasingly, the two were finding more and more ways to collaborate and feed off of each other’s creativity. Enter the RiverSound Project.
Although Mundok’s latest musical endeavor, Here Inside, is heavily steeped in atmospheric audio landscapes, he opted against lending his existing material to the RiverSound Project. Instead, the exhibit’s soundtrack was scored exclusively for the project – a 15-minute piece performed entirely on a synthesizer and an iPad that ebbs and flows both rhythmically and melodically as it pairs with a slideshow of Lester’s stark images.
“All of the black space and darkness was very much aligned with the music I’ve been working on,” explains Mundok. “I feel like a live presentation of the music and images in an animated slideshow will help draw people into that time and place for a few minutes to experience what Matt has done in a more intentional way instead of just walking through a gallery and glancing at the images on the wall.”
The RiverSound Project debuts at The Arch (118 N. Water St., Lancaster) on March 6 at 6pm. Live music performances take place at 6:30pm, 7:30pm and 8:30pm. Click here for more details.