Poetry and visual art combine this month in eye-catching ways at Parkside Gallery with Inspired Imagery: Ron Conway and Guests.
The show is based around and features the poetry of Bridge Lake poet Ron Conway. He said he was approached by the gallery’s curator Barb Brown about doing a show last fall, much to his surprise.
“I thought that just poetry in an art gallery might be a little bit stark so I suggested maybe I could collaborate with some artists here,” Conway said.
Brown put him in contact with Patsy Granberg of the Cariboo Artists Guild who loved the idea of collaborating with him. Conway then provided the guild with 40 poems for them to take inspiration from. He intentionally chose poems he felt had good imagery and would inspire the creation of a painting.
All told, he said about 40 paintings, sculptures and fabric art were produced, though not all were based on the poems he provided. Some artists doubled up on the poems while others went looking through his books and found poems that spoke to them. Conway said he was very impressed by how they interpreted the 28 poems that will be displayed at the gallery.
Conway himself wrote a few new poems to go with paintings they submitted, which he said was fun to do. Called ekphrastic poetry, he said he really likes riffing off another piece of art when interpreting it verbally by either enhancing the artist’s vision or providing his own interpretation
“I’m thrilled. It’s art begetting art. This is a unique show and I’ve never heard of anybody else doing a multi-media show like this with writing and fine art together, so I’m hoping we get a pretty good response,” Conway said.
Conway has lived in the Cariboo for 15 years and got into poetry as a way to communicate with his mother, herself a poet. Over the last five years, Conway has begun writing poetry and has released two books Slightly After Dark and Hidden Agenda, available at the gallery.
”I just sort of caught the bug and been writing ever since. It’s a great way to express yourself and quite satisfying. To me it’s an art form, I get a sense of satisfaction painting a picture with words.”
The show runs from May 14 to June 12 at Parkside Gallery, which is open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.