Style & Arts: Studio Style & Arts

January 6, 2008

Taking a Shine to Sound-Picture Symbiosis

Not only did video fail to kill the radio star, it opened up possibilities for a generation of art stars. Jefferson Pinder, 37, grew up watching MTV and now relies on carefully considered soundtracks to enrich his video works. His latest, the 31/2-minute-long "Shoeshine Variation" at G Fine Art, runs two videos simultaneously, side by side. Both find a black shoe polisher delivering a shine to the shoes of a young white man -- but while old-school Ego Brown delivers a traditional shine, young Jermaine Washington rubs so hard the shoe leather disintegrates. Washington then paints his customer's foot with thick goo. In an unusual move, Pinder designed two soundtracks, which the gallery switches during the day. You may encounter the sultry Latin grooves of the Joe Cuba Sextet's early 1970s "Do You Feel It" spliced with a remix of classic Blue Note jazz -- or the syncopated, charging cowbells of "Street Sounds," an aggressive tune by guitarist Charlie Hunter featuring the rapper Mos Def.

Tell us about the video soundtracks.

"I felt for this piece it was appropriate to have two voices that both clashed and worked in harmony. For Ego, I wanted to use smooth jazz sounds. His shine was refined and of another generation. . . . Jermaine, on the other hand, works to create this psychological undertone that is aggressive and unpredictable. Jermaine's shine is a surreal, almost dreamlike deconstruction. The Mos Def "Street Sounds" chant works as an aggressive, intense mantra. Just as a painter works in layers, I'm creating relationships that might not be seen (or heard) at first, but with a little investigation will open up new ways of examining the piece"

-- Jessica Dawson

"Shoeshine Variation" at G Fine Art, Suite 200, 1515 14th St. NW, Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 202-462-1601, through Jan. 10. For more information visit

PHOTO: G Fine Art; WEB EDITOR: Julia Beizer -

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