Visions Verses Voices - An Immersive Interplay of Paintings and Verses I
Visions Verses Voices is an immersive exhibition of 26 paintings accompanied with 25 poems that expands my love of verse and visual imagery. The twenty-five poems featured were read by various people: professionals such as, Tom Hall, program host, WYPR, singers, amateur actors and just interested individuals who put in the time to be coached. Their readings are played from speakers in continuous loops, strategically placed throughout the gallery. All of the readers share an interest, even love, for the verse they read, which, I believe is conveyed through their unique voices. My purpose in creating this immersive exhibition is to demonstrate the interrelationship of verse and painting by encouraging the viewer/listener to experience the voices of the readers while viewing my paintings. The simultaneous experience makes for an enhanced appreciation of the poems and my paintings.
The various readers’ tempos, cadences and unique rhythms add the visual experience by challenging the viewer to see relationships and dissonance. The poetry readers selected poems that resonated with them so that some poems are read by multiple readers. Poems can be long stories conveying a sense of place and time with anecdotes. Others are shorter imagist works.
Damen endeavored to interpret expressively the gestalt of a poem with color, scale, and images creating her personal interpretations. These soundtracks are artworks too. Music or other sounds are blended with the verses introducing a mood of harmony or contrast with the verse or vision. Additionally, the viewer/listener is able to access each audio from the exhibition's website www.visionsversesvoices.com
The poems are by Janet Lewis (1899-1998) from Poems Old and New 1918-1978, Maj Ragain, (1948-2018), Clouds Pile Up in the North: New & Selected Poems, Tim Joyce, Stone Mad: 2009 and the famous WWI poem, Dolce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen.
Jessica Damen thanks Lindsay Bottos, multimedia artist, for her expertise in collaborating on the production of the soundtracks.
1. Tim Joyce. Stone Mad: Poems .Murphy's Law Press, Lee, MA, 2009
2. Janet Lewis. Poems Old and New 1918-1978. Swallow Press, Ohio University Press, Chicago, IL
3. Wilfred Owen. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46560/dulce-et-decorum-est
4. Maj Ragain, Clouds Pile Up in the North:New & Selected Poems, Press 53, Winston-Salen, NC, 2017