Words & Images: A Collaboration

The Exner Block Gallery is pleased to present Words & Images: A Collaboration, an exhibit that premiered in the Windham Art Gallery (WAG) in June, and, through the generosity of Rockingham Arts and Museum Project (RAMP), has moved to the Bellows Falls location for the month of July. The exhibit will be on display from Thursday, July 5 through Thursday, August 2, 2007, with a reception on Friday, July 20, from 5-7:30PM during Gallery Walk. Co-curated by WAG artist Stuart Copans and Write Action representative Arlene Distler, while in the Brattleboro venue, the show will be curated by Saxtons River artist, Matthew Peake, during its stay at the Exner Block Gallery.

Words & Images represents a collaboration between writers and artists that includes poems, excerpts from short stories, and a children's book, along with paintings, photographs, and ceramics. This exhibit represents a four-month process in which artists and writers met, paired up, and created unique works together. Several of the participants are member-artists from WAG, with many of the other artists and all of the writers being guests invited from the community. Some of the pairs were already acquainted, whereas others met for the first time in February 2007.

When poet Lynn Martin learned of this exhibit, she contacted friend and photographer Cindy Hutcheson. Formerly at the AIDS Project of Southern VT, both had the intention of finding something that their clients had had in common besides their illness, and discovered that it was their pets. Hutcheson's intimate photographs of individuals holding their pets paired with Martin's poetry, moving the reader to tears, forms the poignant piece entitled "Comfort."

Auschwitz prisoner #26947, Czeslawa Kwoka, a young woman photographed before her death at age 14, was the subject for painter Lori Schreiner and poet Theresa Edwards. This collaboration, they said, "brings Czeslawa's image and voice into our lives."

The cooperative endeavor of writer Arlene Distler (with her poem "Skating on the West River") and artist Carolyn DiNicola-Fawley (with her painting "Writing on the Ice") resulted from "bouncing ideas off one another, and finding solutions that used available materials and was conceptually exciting" to the both of them.

Two collaborators, who didn't know each other prior to the initial meeting, were writer Tom Bitters and artist Matthew Peake. Bitters' interest in the challenges of male-female relationships combined with Peake's idea to portray the relationship in the form of a mobile of two dancers, yielded a most "inventive, amusing, acidic" piece.

In addition to the third Friday Gallery Walk on July 20, where many of the artists and writers will attend, there will be a panel discussion held on Thursday, July 26 from 7:00 to 8:00 at the Gallery. The panelists (poet Audrey J. Boerum, writer Beth Stickney, artist Julia Zanes, and gallery owner Peter Jeziorski) will discuss the role of collaboration in artistic expression, offer a critique of the exhibit, and be available for general discussion afterward, along with some of the exhibit's artists and writers. As this is open to the entire community, everyone is encouraged to attend.

Featured pairs of writers and artists include Andrews/Copans, Cummings/Copans, Riddle/Copans, Bitters/Peake, Distler/DiNicola-Fawley, Edwards/Schreiner, Mandell/Allen, Martin/Hutcheson, Mathias/Wakefield, Melton/Ragouzeos, Pienkawa/Nelson, and Wilfong/Taylor.( Because of space limitations, regretfully, pieces by Rolf Parker-Houghton/Jason Alden and Reeve Gutsell/Copans could not be accommodated).

The exhibit will be on display from Thursday, July 5 through Thursday, August 2, 2007, with a reception on Friday, July 20, from 5-7:30PM during Gallery Walk. The Exner Block Gallery hours will be Monday through Thursday, 10:00AM-2:00PM, or by appointment by calling Matt Peake at 869-2989.

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