More than 160 people showed up at a reception on Oct. 4 to see local painters and crafters debut a brand new art concept exhibit at Lander University's Monsanto Gallery.
The six-week public showing, entitled "Mirror Images," runs through Nov. 13, and features 24 collaborative pieces by 12 local artists and 12 local writers, including four Lander students.
"This exhibit is the first-of-its-kind for us, in that it paired area artists with writers and poets from the Greenwood Writer's Guild," said Jon Holloway, director of the Monsanto gallery. "With this kind of pairing, the artist and writer used each other's individual creations to make something entirely new for the exhibit."
For example, after viewing Bob Poe's Monet-like painting "Unfolding," you will be strongly tempted to "Step into the scene and take a pleasant gondola ride down the blue water" as seen in Connie's Terpack's poem "The Gondola Ride."
Charlotte Ehney's poem "Splink, Splat Little Cat" mirrors Karen Johnson's painting of a winking cat named "Cosmo" who chases sunbeams and fairy dust across rooms.
And when Lander student Paige Fowler penned a poem beginning with "You wear worn, scabbed edges and a scratched-up face," junior Ashley Dever turned her words into a brown-splotched, two-part ceramic of a tired, meager landscape.
"Paige gave me a poem she had written a few months before," said Dever, a visual arts major. "The words in her story had a textural feel to them, and I played off that texture to illustrate this idea in the ceramic."
Fowler, who graduated in August, added that she chose to participate in Mirror Images as her last official Lander activity mainly because she was intrigued with the artist-writer concept.
"I've never really shared my writing before," said Fowler, who was approached by professor Andy Jameson about the idea during spring finals. "And I figured this gallery exhibit would be an excellent way to wrap up my experience with Lander."
The idea for Mirror Images originated in 2010 with local artist Amy Alley, who suggested it to the Greenwood Writer's Guild.
"Amy told me about an on-line project called SPARK, where writers and artists were paired to spark creativity," said Charlotte Ehney. "The Guild members liked the idea, and wanted to create something similar in Greenwood."
With Cheney organizing the writers and Dana Gonzalez handling the artists, the Guild held its first Mirror Images show in 2012 at The Arts Center of Greenwood.
A second show followed in 2013, and, after a long break, Ehney approached Holloway about having the Guild's third show at Lander.
"We felt that having the exhibit at Lander would engage a large and diverse audience," Ehney said. "And we wanted to expose students to the benefit of collaboration between artists and writers and the range of creativity that can result from such a pairing."
Judging from the evident interest at the exhibit reception, the Guild could see many more Mirror Images exhibits at Lander in the years to come.
"These type of ventures create a very positive experience beyond the Lander campus," Holloway said.
And Dever spoke for all 24 artists on display, when she said, "It's an honor for me to represent the art department in an exhibit like this."