Art

Writers respond to art

'Evening of Ekphrasis' bonds the written word to a visual experience

By Tamra Testerman
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 3/19/19
Lysa Montwill, the artist- owner of Dragonfly Blue, said she prefers to engage behind the scenes, encouraging other's work, watching artists evolve and explore. She also believes …

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Art

Writers respond to art

'Evening of Ekphrasis' bonds the written word to a visual experience

Posted

Lysa Montwill, the artist- owner of Dragonfly Blue, said she prefers to engage behind the scenes, encouraging other's work, watching artists evolve and explore. She also believes "in the organic organization of a shared vision."

Toward that end, Dragonfly Blue will host "An Evening of Ekphrasis," a shared vision between local poets, musicians and writers who read and perform words they penned as an intimate response to artwork or photograph. The event is planned at the gallery for Saturday (March 23) from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

The word ekphrasis is Greek. Roughly translated it means a description of a work of art, with a dramatic flair communicated with words or music. Montwill said the process for her "is about community and expression. It's a celebration of being human and survival in the sometimes gritty world of human emotions, but also the appreciation of the immense beauty in this world and, inside self and in the presence of others. The joy that comes from genuine human interaction."

Local photographer Elida Hanson-Finelli's first encounter with the process "was a delight and joy to hear others put words to our visual presentations. Some poems enlarged my understandings of the works chosen, others added new meanings. The poems had a way of bringing everyone there in the room into an intimate experience with each other and the artist's experience."

She said that for her "it also added textural depth and fleshed out in words that which remains as an emotional experience - from first viewing to completion I stay with the emotion I first experienced when seeing what it is I am capturing. The technical part enhances that experience. To hear my visions put to words was profound. This event felt like all borders and boundaries were blurred and there was a shared communal experience."

Montwill added, "While I may have been the originator of this process in this gallery, it is those taking part that make the event what it is. I feel I am the stage, while the poets and artists are the actors, the directors, the lighting, the acoustics, set design, costumes, the audience. The whole of the [experience involving] individuals working together to bring about a night of expression is what I feel this is about. Taos is an amazing place with an incredible population of talented individuals. To merge the written and visual is a way of celebrating this community."

She said the history of the event is tied to a decision to do a solo show of her work in October, part of which included coming up with titles for the work. "Titles can be like a blazing neon sign: 'Look at me, this is inside.' For some of us, this aspect is terrifying - for the introverted artist who desires to communicate, to connect, but not be bombarded with ridicule."

She said the show in October was "personal on several levels. Coming up with titles was agonizing. In the long debate over what to title the individual pieces I turned to things I had written searching for various words to use. I realized [that] selected various free-form poetry I had written would be far easier than cherry-picking words. Doing this would deepen the meaning while preserving the mystery. Armed with a pile of poetry I asked friends to match the poems to the pieces, a delightful experience, which then inspired the thought of sharing this. In a town blessed with the diversity of arts why not take it further and have poetry written by others for visual works? I mentioned this idea to [singer-songwriter] Tenney Walsh, and she said it sounded like ekphrasis - an unusual word unto itself. When I looked up the definition I was thrilled. A well-established framework I could work with and use."

Montwill said the last time the gallery hosted the event it was "an evening of warmth, good cheer, heartfelt moments that traversed the path of humor to bittersweet reminiscing, poignant with the resiliency of the human spirit to find beauty in the ashes of trials past. It was an evening of expressing life, captured in words merged with a visual representation. Laughter and the bright sparkle of tears welling from long-hidden pools."

Those taking part in the event include Cher Sharp, who is composing for Janet Boccelli and Montwill; Walsh, Terry Sedah and Al Kelley are composing for photographer Elida Hanson-Finelli; Julian Spaulding is composing for Rafael Vega; KC Tebbutt from Untitled Gallery is composing for two of his own pieces; and Linda Thompson is composing for Terry Thompson, among others.

Expect a spirited evening of warmth, adventure and soul-touching moments from the shared expression of living.

Admission is free.

Dragonfly Blue is located at 109 Kit Carson Road, Suite B. For more information, call (909) 784-8490 or email idragonflyblue@gmail.com.

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