Words and images go together quite harmoniously in the exhibit "Poets and Painters" at the Artists' Gallery in Columbia. Its participating writers and artists have come up with pairings that prompt one to think about various ways in which to creatively describe the world around us.
Those artistic forms of expression actually go beyond painting. Some of the exhibiting artists are photographers. Their straightforward depictions encourage the paired poets to come up with narratives that comment on what's before our eyes.
In Ann Eid's color photograph "Farmers Market, Houston," for instance, two middle-aged women sell produce at an outdoor market. The accompanying poem by Suzanna Merritt titled "The Farmers Market" includes the lines: "She stands behind the stall./ A woman of mature years./ Shoulders bowed by years of working the soil./ Her cheerful face of weathered sun-kissed skin./ Greets all who come."
A tightly cropped color photo by Jerry Weinstein, "Three Peonies," gives you those three flowers against an all-black background. Similarly, the accompanying three-line poem by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka titled "Peonies" reads in its entirety: "ruby peonies-/ whirling dervishes at a/ standstill. light on black." And, of course, the poet's haiku format is appropriate for a flower found in much Asian art and literature.
Moving from photography to painting, Marian Gliese's oil painting "Evening Song" is a sparely stylized scene in which two birds perch in trees whose curving trunks make the composition seem like a dreamscape rather than a standard landscape. The accompanying poem by Deepan Chatterjee, "The Cherished Yesterday," likewise discusses those birds in a rather, er, poetic manner.
A more traditionally realistic oil painting, Pat Roberie's "Love on the Boardwalk," depicts an elderly couple as seen from the back. Their arm-in-arm closeness is reinforced in George A. Murrill's poem "Our Loving Cup," whose lines include "A Trust/ That we are truly one/ Forever."
Nancy Lee Davis' oil painting "House" calls your attention to a modestly sized rural house. Vanita Leatherman's poem "Find Me Here" imagines the life of its unseen inhabitant with lines including "You'll find me here/ In this morning house/ and so/ will I."
Landscape painting lends itself to poetry that follows through on natural moods.Deborah Maklowski's pastel "Evening Steals Over the Valley" has a purple- and pink-hued sky behind near-silhouetted trees in the foreground. The poem of the same title by William Lowe includes the lines "Evening steals over the valley,/ treading soft and unseen."
Venturing into painterly abstraction, Maklowski's pastel and acrylic "Cry of the Desert" features colorful strands of purple, yellow and red that evoke the look of a desolate and open landscape at dusk. The poem "The Cry of the Desert" by Deepan Chatterjee thematically deals with times of day when light and dark share the same space.
There are a number of other artists and poets who are paired in this exhibit, so you have plenty of viewing and reading to keep you creatively occupied.
"Poets and Painters" runs through March 29 at the Artists' Gallery, in the American City Building at 10227 Wincopin Circle in Columbia. Call 410-740-8249 or go to http://www.artistsgallerycolumbia.com.