Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ekphrasis: Art & Words

I am really pleased to let you know about an exhibition I have curated, with the help of poet Gwyneth Green, called 'Ekphrasis: Art & Words." It is on exhibit at Gallery U in Westfield, NJ through May 2, 2016. Please come by to check it out! I will be reading my poetry this Sunday, April 17, 2016, at Gallery U along with Gwynneth and John J Trause. Please join us at 2 PM.

Here is the exhibition statement:

The power of one form of art over another fascinates me. I have always believed that many art forms — visual arts, literary arts, music — carry the influence of those that came before them, and it’s always exciting for me to discover the little tidbits of one artist informing another. In a sense, carrying on the influence of an artist in one’s own work is the greatest homage to any artist. 

For the past few years I have been creating photographs influenced and inspired by my own poetry, so I was pleased when poet Gwyneth Green informed me of her own similar project where she creates poetry inspired by the artwork of her friends. She had an extensive collection of ekphrasis poems and artwork so Gwynneth’s work became the seed of the ekphrasis project at Gallery U.

Ekphrasis is traditionally used to describe a literary form — a commentary on art or a poem inspired by a piece of art. But for this project, I wanted to include the reversal as well, especially since poetry can be very visual and has the power to inspire visual arts. My other goal was to change the common perception that poetry is inaccessible and to use visual arts to help the reader to experience the power of words on another level. 

I invited a few artists — both visual artists and poets — with whom I have worked over the years in the hopes that their art would inspire one another to create. All of the artists and poets that are participating in Ekphrasis rely heavily on visuals and I knew that pairing their art form with another would be successful. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Ekphrasis holds something or everyone in both visual and written forms. There is poetry of great emotion that is made even more emotional by the accompanying artwork. And there is also artwork that may be emotional at first glance but  the viewer realizes a whimsy side after reading the poem created to accompany it. 

I wish to personally thank the pool of talent that came together to make Ekphrasis one of my favorite exhibitions to date, and especially to those artists who brought my own poetry to life and to another level. I am truly humbled by the experience. I like to especially thank Gwyneth Green who put the bug in my ear. I have been told by many artists that they were challenged with the topic but in a way that was a great creative reward. It is my hope that I can curate an ekphrasis exhibition next year on a greater scale. In the meantime, please read through this catalog and spend some time looking deep into both the poetry and artwork to see the connections made between the artists and poets. And possibly discover your own connections. 

Robert P. Langdon, Curator

April 2016

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