|I Am a Plain Woman, detail ~ by Dawn Chandler|
The premise of O&O was this: Joan Logghe, the poet laureate of Santa Fe, invited 35 poets to submit four poems each. She then selected two poems from each poet. Meanwhile the committee of the Community Gallery selected 35 visual artists who use text in their work. Joan then paired each artist with a poet. The artist selected one of the poems and then incorporated the text of the poem into a work of art. The idea was not to interpret the poem, but rather to use the words within the work. One could use the whole poem or a mere stanza or two.
One of the artists selected, Blair Vauhn-Gruler, with her husband artist Ernst Gruler, owns GVG Contemporary. She found that while creating her piece for the SFCG, she came up with smaller pieces that were complete works of art in their own right. Other of the artists, she learned, had a similar experience, and so she graciously offered to exhibit these smaller, "deconstructed" works at GVG Contemporary, as a sister show to O&O.
I was invited to participate in both shows, and quite an honor it was, especially in view of the level of excellence of the art submitted — both visual and poetic. I had the further honor of being paired with poet Barbara Rockman, and chose her poem, Letter from Georgia O’Keeffe To Alfred Stieglitz Upon Seeing His Photograph of Her Hands. What a remarkable creative journey her words provided me...(More of that when I post my paintings, anon). Interestingly, Barbara and I did not meet until Friday night at the reception, but I think I can speak for both of us when I say we felt an instant, mutual connection.
Rarely have I been to art exhibitions which have delighted me so completely. It was simply delicious to walk around these exhibitions and discover so many varieties of creativity....so many words, beautiful words.... And to mingle with and overhear the conversations of visual artists meeting poets...It was uplifting and inspiring and radiant. Indeed, it makes me think I'd like to surround myself with more poetry....and poets.