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Transliteration

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Liz Robbins and Sara Pedigo at the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum

We are pleased to present an upcoming exhibition entitled “Transliteration,” a collaborative project between painter, Sara Pedigo, and poet, Liz Robbins.  The exhibition will be on view from October 26 through November 21, 2012.  There will be an opening reception for the artists on Friday, November 2 from 5 until 9pm. 

Based on mutual interest and respect for each other’s work, a collaboration of creative forces naturally evolved between Flagler College colleagues Robbins and Pedigo.  The impetus for this joint effort began when Pedigo created the cover painting for Robbins’ latest book of poems, Play Button. Upon reading the manuscript, Pedigo created several paintings for the prospective cover that attempted to capture the mood of Play Button while not directly quoting any one poem. After the publication of Play Button, Robbins and Pedigo were interested in seeing what would happen if they created work in response to specific pieces by the other artist. The outcome of this collaboration, on display in the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, takes the form of new paintings, drawings, and poems that each serve as a response to a particular work by the other artist. Through the continuously evolving creative process poems took new shapes as drawings, and paintings became new stories on a blank page.  The artists have used each other’s respective work as a new found canvas, a creative springboard for new potential and artistic exploration.

As a visual artist, Pedigo is interested in the sensory power of Robbins’ poetry. Robbins’ masterful use of language creates perfect slices of experience that transport the reader mentally and physically to the world described on the page.  Pedigo’s response to those slices of experience take the form of loosely painted portraits and drawings that don't always nod back to the specificity and particulars of the poems, but weave an atmospheric interpretation of the mood and lyricism that the poetry offers. The layered and sometimes dream-like quality of the paintings evokes substantial personal responses under which the paintings themselves seem almost to be tangible memories.

As a poet, Robbins is drawn to the potential narrative aspects, such as character, in Pedigo's work, as well as the music and mood she creates with color and texture. She is also moved by one of Pedigo’s artistic motivations: as a deeply creative way to reunite with loved family. To negotiate these aspects, Robbins moved beyond mere ekphrastic poems (poems about art) and tried to create differently complex, layered products, which included borrowing from other forms, genres, and devices, such as playwriting, aphorisms, songwriting, haibun (a Japanese poetic form), logic (if-then statements), personality typing, synesthesia, and biographical statements.

Sara Pedigo has exhibited throughout the United States and in 2007 she was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant. Most notably, she was included in the 2006 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and in exhibitions at the Cue Foundation, Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art and the Naples Art Museum. Pedigo received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Flagler College, her undergraduate alma mater.

Liz Robbins' second full collection, Play Button, won the 2010 Cider Press Review Book Award. Her chapbook, Girls Turned Like Dials, won the 2012 YellowJacket Press Prize and is out this month. Her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, Poet Lore, Rattle, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor, and are in recent or forthcoming issues of Cimarron Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Journal, New York Quarterly, and Notre Dame Review. Her first book, Hope, as the World is a Scorpion Fish (Backwaters Press), was published in 2008.  She is currently Associate Professor of English at Flagler College.

Poem with Corset Allusion, by Elizabeth RobbinsSara Pedigo, Amy Needs to Unclench, 7" x 5", oil on panel, 2012

To love, Amy needs to unclench. Surrounding her, five large wooden desks, all with sharp pulls and tightly shut drawers. Impossible to budge. Her red-haired twin brothers, pockmarked and Army-issued, stuffed with defensive memos to Prom Kings and schoolyard bullies. Her sky-high, drug-happy mother, faux 18th C. tiger maple, full of hideaways for bottles of phantom cherries and rainbow pinwheel eyeballs. Her two friends, Jejune (the blond in her apartment) and Morose (the mahogany at work), taking up space, hiding return addresses in mail piles, ignoring faces heaped by the blinking red answering machine. To love, Amy needs to unclench. Demolish the desks. She has all the right gear, born with the ticking mechanisms. But the strings were cinched tight early. Cinched until her favorite color turned blue. At twenty, she became aware she owned furniture; when she moved it around, she felt responsible. Hard to let furniture go, even the bad. Lucky for her, her mind: a room with Victorian tea rose wallpaper and loose white sheets, despite the inevitable cherry wood bed. Amy imagines someone lying. And another one lying. On the bed. And loses track of her breathing. Clench. Every day, Amy sees five hundred years into the future where all the women are like her. Very thin, withholding. The forests gone, desks everywhere. Thin-as-air women. The last generation.

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