ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Visualizing Language was a gallery conceptualized and created for the 2018 and 2019 Juniper Literary Festivals at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Curated by Emilie Menzel in 2019 and Emilie Menzel and Amanda Dahill-Moore in 2018, the gallery explored intersections between the visual arts and the written word through a presentation of writing and artwork by current University of Massachusetts MFA Fiction & Poetry candidates.
Writers and visual artists of course hold a long history of lively exchange: Ezra Pound’s cantos painted brightly across Cy Twombly’s canvases; Guillaume Apollinaire, Hilton Als, Eileen Myles, and John Ashbery the renowned art critics and writers; Fred Moten and Tyehimba Jess’ explorations of the page's white space; Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new adaptation of the comic book Black Panther; Alison Bechdel’s strange family introspections through the graphic novel; Lynda Barry’s teaching of writing through journaling and doodles; Renee Gladman’s subtly beautiful examinations of language as architecture and writing as drawing; ekphrastics, theater, film, cartoons, picture books—the list continues.
The displayed works at Visualizing Language examined the relationship between visual artwork and writing through a range of approaches:
1.Writing presented as traditional visual art—the poem body as art object, the paragraph as shape; 2. Writing and the visual presented in combination—graphic design, collage, word and image juxtaposition; 3. Artwork by writers who are simultaneously visual artists, who use the visual as a way of exploring and expanding their writing practices; and 4. Photographs of writers' work spaces, samples of writers’ object collections, physical objects which spur writing activity—the visual worlds writers build for themselves to sustain creativity.
photographs below by Michael Medeiros