One of the most beautiful things about art is its ability to elicit so many different emotions and reactions from so many people. An inner landscape of an artist, transmitted to the outside world through the means of an artwork, gets received, transformed, related to, interpreted in deeply personal ways. What does a painter envision when confronted with a touching verse of poetry? How do words resonate with the artist and turn into visual narratives? And, subsequently, what does the viewer feel when confronted with the painting inspired by that poetry? You can find out for yourself at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, where its director Lisa Dolby Chadwick brought her passion for the two world together in an exhibition of 18 artists and 18 poets.
For more than fifteen years, the San Francisco space has been cultivating a relationship with poetry, through its frequent literary events and book launches. Moreover, the owner has been co-hosting the annual scholarship benefit for St. Mary’s College’s Literary Arts MFA Program, and will support it again through this exhibition too, as all of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to benefit it. In doing so, the gallery aims to give poetry the recognition it deserves as an art form, offering it to its contemporary arts enthusiasts in an unusual, marvellous way. Eighteen writers were asked to contribute poems, varying in style and topic, and later, eighteen artists were assigned by Chadwick to visually interpret them, one poem per artist. Per similarity in expression, the artists and the poets were paired up, to create a dialogue which ultimately transcends both words and imagery alike.
And so, for example, we see Vanessa Marsh’s print Looking for the Gulf Motel and to it, we attach the lyrics of Richard Bianco, saying ”I want to find The Gulf Motel exactly as it was/ and pretend for a moment, nothing lost is lost.” There is the complexity of a paper collage by Matt Gonzalez, that talks volumes to Troung Tran’s prose poem about keys and doors, bodies and history. In return, Matt Gonzalez contributed a poem of his own, interpreted by fellow artist Sherie' Franssen and her highly expressive work What Good in this Love. These are only some of the examples of poet-artist couples, as there are also Bill Berkson and Katina Huston, Billy Collins and Edwige Fouvry, Peter Coyote and Ann Gale, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Terry St. John, Robert Hass and Alex Kanevsky, Brenda Hillman and Jaq Chartier, Jack Hirschman and Ann Weber, Alice Jones and Jenifer Kent, Devorah Major and Louise LeBourgoise, Charlie Pendergast and Kai Samuels-Davis, Renny Pritikin and Travis Collinson, Ed Smallfield and Danae Mattes, Tamsin Smith and John DiPaolo, Gary Snyder and Mayme Kratz, and David Whyte and Michael Kenna.
Lightning Strikes, an exhibition of works by 18 artists responding to 18 poets will open on December 12th, 2015, at Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco, USA. The reception will be held on the same day from 2pm to 5pm, with live music and poetry reading beginning promptly at 2pm. Most of the participating poets will be present and will be reading their work, and each ticket holder receives a copy of the Lightning Strikes book, containing all the poems presented in the exhibition. The show will stay on view until January 30th, 2016. The gallery will be closed from December 24th until January 4th 2016, for the holidays.
Featured images in slider: Vanessa Marsh - Landscape 22, 2015. Archival pigment print from photogram. Limited editions available in 20 x 20, 30 x 30, and 40 x 40 in; Sherie' Franssen - What Good is this Love, 2015. Oil on canvas, 57 x 60 in.; Louise LeBourgeois - Blue Unplumbed #546, 2015. Oil on panel, 30 x 30 in; Alex Kanevsky - Samarkand Blue, 2015. Oil on panel, 18 x 18 in. All images courtesy of Dolby Chadwick Gallery.
San Francisco, United States of America