MORE CALLIGRAPHY! I don’ t feel like I’m particularly seeking it out, but somehow recently it’s been showing up more, or I’m noticing it more. This time it’s a lovely exhibit at the Book Club of California in San Francisco. Calligraphy AND POETRY, in fact. How could that not catch my eye?!
The Calligrapher is San Francisco based Thomas Ingmire, and the Poet is Anglo-Welsh David Annwn (pronounced Anoon, or at least that’s how I heard it) – from the exhibit notes: This exhibition traces the collaboration between calligrapher/book artist Thomas Ingmire and the Anglo-Welsh poet David Annwn as they explore processes through which they create works in response to the texts and images of the other. As Bruce Nixon has written “Their collaboration, which began in the early 2000s, is based on ekphrasis, a rhetorical device from antiquity, in which one art medium is described by another, thus heightening its affect for viewers or readers. In this case, the poet sends a poem to the calligrapher, who answers it with an image, which is then returned to the poet to become the basis of another poem, and so on, back and forth, an evolutionary process which, from the calligrapher’s perspective, yields a dynamic exchange, provoking the visualization of the written word well beyond the safety of individual style. As a collaborative undertaking, it is at once conversational and deeply personal.” Over the last ten years, David and Thomas have collaborated on twelve one-of-kind books, innovative calligraphic and poetry experiments, and several printed books. Most of these works will be on display for this exhibition.
The works are (although sadly behind glass and untouchable) amazingly wonderful. They soar and play in the intersection and interplay of visual and verbal, that space that fascinates and inspires me. It’s great to see the scope and variety of the collaboration, and the richness that a great collaboration can bring, where each artist’s part is enhanced and expanded. For one piece, the intermediate stages were shown along with the final work, which was super cool to see.
There was also an informative and entertaining presentation where Thomas and David spoke about three of the works in the show, David read, and they took audience questions. Due to the geographic considerations, the collaborations have been remote – mostly e-mail communication – it was neat to hear their perspectives on the process and some detail about specific works.
Show is up until April 25, 2016. Get to it while you can!