“The Ride,” a photograph by Nancy Barnhart of Stehekin, is accompanied in the Confluence exhibit by a poem entitled “My Stepside ’57” by Carlton poet Abbie Miller. Photo by Nancy Barnhart

“The Ride,” a photograph by Nancy Barnhart of Stehekin, is accompanied in the Confluence exhibit by a poem entitled “My Stepside ’57” by Carlton poet Abbie Miller. Photo by Nancy Barnhart

By Ann McCreary

A conversation about the connection between art and writing inspired Confluence Gallery & Art Center’s new exhibit, “Visions of Verse,” opening this Saturday (Nov. 9).

Nicole Ringgold, Confluence’s executive director, and Winthrop poet Linda Robertson were talking last winter about the concept of encouraging collaboration between visual artists and writers in the Methow Valley.

For a poetry class, Robertson had recently written a poem based on a visual work of art, using the power of visual imagery to inspire her poetry, Ringgold said. The two of them wondered, what if the process were reversed?

“We were wanting to turn the equation around, because usually writers will respond to visual art with their writing,” Ringgold said. The idea for Visions of Verse was born.

In May, Confluence Gallery asked local writers to submit writing for consideration for the exhibit. “We received over 200 submissions,” Ringgold said. “Linda narrowed down the selection to 33 pieces. With those 33 pieces we invited artists to respond to up to five of the pieces.”

Writings chosen for the exhibit include poetry, flash fiction and prose submitted by high school students and adults, primarily from the Methow Valley.

Artists chose to respond to the writings with paintings, collage, sculpture, mixed media, fabric and jewelry. Their work is paired with corresponding writings in the exhibit.

Visions of Verse is an exhibit that includes the work created through this process, a diverse collection of 17 writers and 17 artists, Ringgold said.

“We were trying to challenge our community to think outside the box when it comes to art. Art isn’t just something you put on the wall,” Ringgold said.

To accompany the exhibit, Ringgold created a chapbook, a small publication containing the writings and photographs of the art, that will be on sale at the gallery.

Visions of Verse opens with a reception from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday. A reading will be held on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.

 

My ’57

An excerpt from Carlton poet Abbie Miller’s work, “My Stepside ’57,” which accompanies Nancy Barnhart’s photo:

 

Parked since 

grandpa died 

Oxidized green 

in white relief 

the tailgate read 

Chevrolet 

Weeds grew 

by weathered rubber 

between the bumpers 

and body 

Windshield dirty 

seam in the middle 

wipers defunct 

Torpedo hood 

fenders bulging 

Proud