The new exhibit in Wilson Gallery, Vision and Verse, celebrates the elements of both visual imagery and written word. The gallery showcases artists’ books form Boston University’s MFA program.
Poet David Wright spoke at the opening night on Friday, Jan. 25, and his work can be found in numerous journals.
Professor Tai Lipan, director of university galleries and instructor of art, said that she tries to make every exhibit showcase a different element of art. The gallery has around six shows a year.
“I tried to allocate my resources thinking of something design-related, which we had in the Luba Lokova show last semester,” Lipan said. “I always try to do a cross-disciplinary show second semester.”
Lipan also wanted the exhibit to show something that is interesting to multiple people across campus. Luba Lokova’s was about social justice, and Lipan partnered with the English department for that exhibit.
“The English professors always do a great job of bringing their students through and using the gallery as a resource,” Lipan said. “Even though it wasn’t my biggest budgeting show, I wanted it to be something really dynamic and interesting to relate with them that I could still fit in budget.”
Lipan remembered that she worked in a studio program for years, and a lot of her students went to Boston University. The students assembled painting with poetry into an artist book that they completed for their program.
“There are all these books of poetry out there that are seen through the lens of a visual artist as well and nice juxtaposition of those two things,” Lipan said. “I figured that even though most of these painters are doing really well, they wouldn’t mind sending me their books.”
Lipan gathered between nine or 10 books of poetry and also tried to contact the poets themselves for this exhibit.
“Books themselves aren’t extremely dynamic on their own and are kind of hard to use to draw people into the show,” Lipan said. “I thought it would also be an interesting parallel to have the painters send examples of current paintings. For most of them, this project was several years older than the paintings that they sent. Even within each painter’s work, you can see a juxtaposition between what they’re doing now and what they did a few years ago.”
The exhibit has a diverse range of art including the books, a quilt based on a poem and a sculptural piece. Lipan said there’s a lot to read and engage with when you go into the gallery.
Along with the work in the gallery, Lipan wanted to include some student work in the exhibit. They collected some student poetry and hung it outside of the gallery.
“We tried to take an approach with the presentation of the student work where they’re more scroll-like,” Lipan said. “I worked with a design student to make that work and each one is typeset distinctively to get across the individuality of the student’s work.”
Junior Londyn Rouse, a social work and dance complementary major, was one of the students selected to display their poetry. She created her poem in her personal and community health class last semester.
“We were supposed to pick some sort of social issue that we felt passionate about,” she said. “Some people did a drawing or a presentation, but I love writing so I decided to write a poem.”
Rouse chose to write about domestic violence because of an issue one of her friends has been going through.
“One of my really close friends is in an abusive relationship right now,” Rouse said. “I’ve seen first-hand the effects of it and how hard it has been for her and our friend group.”
Rouse said that the poem is from her friend’s point of view and how she thinks she would feel in this situation. Her poem ends with a sense of hope for the future that her friend will listen and know that her friends will always be there for her.
“I think it’s really cool to be involved in a community where people appreciate art and are willing to come together to value it,” she said.
Junior Jacob Cupps, a music theory and history major, also had a poem selected to be displayed in the gallery.
“For my poem, I borrowed a line from Abby Johnson who also has a poem up right now but it was from a different poem of hers,” Cupps said. “I took the idea of finding yourself on Google Maps and made it more internally and historically focused.”
Cupps said that he wrote about the lineage and history of his mom’s side of the family and how that helps him to find himself.
On the wall opposite the student poetry, the English department partnered with the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference to bring in a speaker. David Wright came to talk, and he also created a lecture.
Lipan said she hopes that people come and spend time with everything in the gallery. She posted all of the artist’ bios and statements, containing information on where they’re coming from and what they’re doing in their career now.
The Wilson Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m Monday through Friday, and this exhibit will be available until February 22.