Mentor Elaine Handley and Artist Marco Montanari Collaborate in Ekphrasis Tradition
By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange
November 26, 2013
“Creating the Third Mind: A Painter and Poet Collaborate,” a collaborative art project featuring the work of both Mentor Elaine Handley, at left, a poet at Empire State College’s Saratoga Unit, and Marco Montanari, an artist from Colorado, will be featured at The Teaching Gallery at 111 West Ave., Saratoga Springs. From two distinct creative backgrounds, Handley is a writer and professor at the college whose poetry is in the tradition of “ekphrasis,” and Montanari is an encaustic painter, using paraffin and thinly polished glazes to achieve a wide range of textures. Both ekphrasis and encaustic painting are ancient traditions. The show runs through December.
Ekphrasis uses poetic language to write about art, an ancient tradition that exists in every known culture. The original goal of this literary form was to create the experience of a work of art for the reader so it could be imagined. In modern times, ekphrasis shifted to the poet interpreting and entering into a work of art.
Poem: "Armour" - written by Elaine Handley inspired by Marco Montanari?s “Spiritual Warrior Shield” painting: “Dark Conflict Torn Through to the Warrior's Winged Light I" (pictured above)
The exhibit will highlight the visual dialogue that occurred between painter and poet as each was inspired by the other’s creative processes and work. Montanari and Handley have expanded the notion of ekphasis by the painter also painting in response to poems, as well as the poet writing about paintings.
“While the focus of exhibits in the gallery are always interdisciplinary in nature, ‘Creating the Third Mind: A Painter and Poet Collaborate,’ is a true collaborative approach that will encourage the viewer to participate by forming his or her own visual imagery in reaction to the poems and paintings,” said Judith Belt-Smith, curator. “The process of curating an exhibit is to be able to understand what will encourage and engage the students at Empire State College that are not only from various cultural backgrounds, but are also multigenerational.”
Belt-Smith holds a B.A. in the arts with a concentration in curatorial practice and museum studies from Empire State College and is a current MALS student with a concentration in museum education.