Saturday, April 10, 2010

Transformations - Article 4

Cindy Michaud provided the following information about the upcoming Transformations event.

Greg Byrd and Suzanne Clements

The last collaborative pair to be interviewed for the TRANSFORMATIONS project is Greg Byrd, a poet from St. Petersburg and Suzanne Clements, an artist living in Palm Bay. This is part of what they shared about working together in the creative process.

Suzanne Clements – artist - For the longest time I tried to force a process to the surface, at one time even contemplating tearing up a few of my paintings and creating a new work from the resulting snippets. Greg and I went down a number of paths before arriving at the finished pieces. We talked about themes we used in our work, symbolism and imagery we might employ to convey a certain concept or idea.

Greg Byrd – poet- At one point I remember thinking that my work really had very little in common with hers. My poems are often set on the shore, in the ocean, in the mountains, almost anywhere but in a room of a house. But as we corresponded, I found that we shared some of the same standard images and symbols. Her use of wood in a painting is evocative, she told me, of history and historicity. My poems return to wood in its many forms again and again.

SC - The thing is, while painting was a huge part of who I was for a number of years, painting is a very personal process for me. A dialog between me, the brush and the canvas - my works were very much like visual journals. It didn't feel right to apply that method to a collaborative project.

GB - At some points it seemed like I was busy when Suzanne was actively offering me work and that I was writing when she was busy. For this reason, the fairly long period of the overall project was helpful. As it turns out, both of us were “waiting for the well to fill up again” after enduring some dry spells.

SC - Near the end of the project, the pressure was setting in for me. It seemed my creativity was worn down and I'd have nothing but weakly executed work to hang. Then, world shifted abruptly. Upon my request, Greg Byrd sent me single lines and snippets from his writings and each struck me like a dagger. It was like I was reading a long lost journal of memories.

GB - I sent fourteen fragments from my poems I felt were imagistic or somehow meaningful. As I found out later, this proved a moment of synchronicity, as some of the fragments of my own work struck a chord in Suzanne’s life, and gave her a eureka moment for her part of the project. Viewing the photographs in her developing project sparked a couple tangentially-related poems and then “Homage to Alberti,” which is included for this project. (Alberti is one Renaissance artist credited for developing the visual effect of perspective.)

For more information about the project see:

Join us April 17 at 7:00 pm at the Brevard Art Museum as all 12 poets and their artist partners share their Transformations work for the first time. This unique presentation will include readings by the poets as well as discussions from each artist: don't miss it! A beautiful 100 page, full color book detailing the progress of all 12 pairs will be available at the Brevard Art Museum.

Project designers: Fay Picardi, Denette Schweikert and Cindy Michaud.

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