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Responses: Painting and Poetry.
'Responses: between painters and poets' exhibition at Birdwood House Gallery, Totnes is a collaborative project between some members of Contemporary Mark Makers and Moor Poets, creating poems and paintings in response to each others’ work.
Some paintings were also exhibited at the South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts Open Exhibition at Exeter Castle in 2019.
Responses between painters and poets Exhibition:
Contemporary Mark Makers are a group of local artists who come together to provide a supportive and energizing environment in which to experiment and develop our practice through mark making and creative play. We work in a range of media, primarily painting, drawing and print making, but also collage, sculpture, photography and sound. We work figuratively, abstractly and everything in between – but our emphasis is always on representing expression and experience.
Our successful Collaboration exhibition (2017) inspired us to look for collaborators in other creative forms. This led us to connect with Moor Poets, a community of poets based in and around the Dartmoor area. Moor Poets aims to support and work with local poets of all levels of experience, exploring techniques and inspiration, developing their work and sharing love and enthusiasm for poetry more widely.
Contemporary Mark Makers and Moor Poets came together in a series of workshops and experiences. Explorations in the studio included responding to words, images and ideas to find poetic descriptors in language and paint for appearances, sounds, smells, effects, locations, impacts, moods and memories. Words as marks, and marks as words.
The poets also ventured out with the artists on their summer adventures into the landscape which stimulated imaginations and invited reflection. We visited a wild-flower meadow at Buckland-in-the-Moor, the lunar landscape of Wotterwaste China Clay Works, the lively River Dart at New Bridge, a packed Teignmouth back beach in full summer swing, Combestone Tor and Saddle Tor in wind and weather, Dartington’s Summer School with a glass of fizz, the secret gem of Bovey Heath and finally the atmospheric ruins of Buckfastleigh Church.
These sites and landscapes triggered lively and inspiring interaction between mark makers and poets. Stretching our senses both visually and verbally prompted interplay from all directions. A poem inspired a painting, which inspired another painting, then perhaps a further poem and so on. If you wonder how that worked, then do take a look at our “process wall” documenting the development of our ideas from germination to fruition and some detours along the way.
This collaboration made us think more deeply about how we approach the challenges of collaborative creative processes; it has helped us add value, inspiration and fun, and broaden our perspectives in creating both art and poetry.