Streaming Video (.MP4)
& Sound (.MP3)

  •  TNWK
    • Once Upon A Time In The Best Western
    •    4:38 - 2006


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Miami University Art Museum
January 26 - June 20, 2007

Norma Cole, Marjorie Welish, Tom Raworth

Marjorie Welish

IMAGEworks/WORDworks was an exhibition celebrating the work of five writers who maintain practices as visual artists. It included paintings, collages, installations, video work and poems by the poet-artists Norma Cole, Tom Raworth, Marjorie Welish, and TNWK (Kirsten Lavers and cris cheek). Viewers were invited to explore analogies between poetry and the visual arts—continuities and discontinuities between the understanding of practices in the so-called “sister arts” as these exist now in the wake of a history of avant-garde activity across the arts and conceptual and theoretical work about poetry and art, text and image. The mutual implications of text and image were on view throughout the exhibition in poems set beside visual work and in hybrid works combining text and image. Meshworks presents here video and audio recordings of two events that were part of the exhibition: poetry readings by Norma Cole, Tom Raworth & Marjorie Welish with an introduction by Keith Tuma, and a talk by Marjorie Welish, together with the TNWK video, Once Upon a Time in the Best Western, featured in the exhibition.

 >> Norma Cole
is the author of numerous books of poetry including Do the Monkey (Zasterle, 2006), Spinoza in Her Youth (Omnidawn, 2002), Moira (O Books, 1995), and My Bird Book (Littoral Books, 1991). As one of the leading translators of contemporary French poetry, she has published translations of poets including Emmanuel Hocquard, Anne Portugal, and Fouad Gabriel Naffah and edited and translated Crosscut Universe: Writing on Writing from France (Burning Deck, 2000). As a visual artist Cole has worked in a variety of mediums. Her House of Hope, featured as part of IMAGEworks/WORDworks, is a suspended sculpture collecting 426 quotes gathered from the artist’s notebooks over the past 20 years. Part of the same project and also featured in the exhibit is the fine-press book titled Collective Memory, published by Granary Books (2006), spotlighting in text, photos and drawings the creative process of imagining poetry within a variety of environments.  Other visual work by Cole is reproduced as part of books including Benjamin Friedlander’s A Knot is Not a Tangle, Peter Ganick’s Remove a Concept Parts 1&2, Tom Mandel’s Realism, and as drawings, paintings and photographs in journals including Acts, Black Warrior Review, Bombay Gin, and Raddle Moon. Cole has been the recipient of awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2006) and The Fund for Poetry (2003, 1999, 1994) as well as a Purchase Award for “They Flatter Almost Recognize,” a collaboration with photographer Ben E. Watkins (1994), and the Gertrude Stein Award (1995-96, 1994-95, 1993-94). She lives in San Francisco.

 >> Marjorie Welish
is the author of numerous collections of poetry including Art and Language Writes an Epitaph (Belladonna, 2006), Word Group (Coffee House, 2004), The Annotated “Here” and Selected Poems (Coffee House, 2000) and Else, in Substance (Paradigm Press, 1999). Her collection of art criticism, Signifying Art: Essays on Art after 1960, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1999. Of the Diagram: The Work of Marjorie Welish, a collection of essays about her painting and poetry edited by Aaron Levy and Jen-Michel Rabaté, was published by Slought Books in 2003. Welish has sustained a painting practice and career parallel to but not identical with that of her poetry; yet there are common issues. Conspicuous in her art is the display of syntactical logics. Some of her paintings explore what critic Andrew Benjamin calls the “aftergrid,” where a grid gives way to an array entirely improvised in color choice and order. Other paintings make a point of a ringing changes on a Structuralist matrix of similarity and difference. Welish is the recipient of several art grants and fellowships, from the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Fifth Floor Foundation, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, International Studio Program, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.  She teaches at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and has served as a visiting art critic and poetry professor at Brown University.

 >> Tom Raworth
is one of the leading poets of his generation. He is the author of more than fifty books and chapbooks of poetry, including Caller and Other Pieces (Edge Books, 2007), Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2003), Meadow (Post-Apollo, 1999), Eternal Sections (Sun and Moon, 1993), Visible Shivers (O Books, 1987), Writing (The Figures, 1982), The Big Green Day (Trigram, 1968), and The Relation Ship (Goliard, 1966). His poetry is the subject of numerous critical articles and reviews in books and in journals ranging from the TLS to PN Review and Critical Inquiry; Nate Dorward’s Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth (The Gig, 2003) is a book-length collection of essays on his poetry. Raworth has read his poetry at sites throughout North America, France, Italy, South Africa, and the United Kingdom; a two CD collection issued by Rockdrill features recordings of his reading of his poems. As a visual artist, Raworth is best known for his collages, which have been exhibited in France, Italy, and the United States (most recently at the University of Notre Dame) and reproduced as images on the covers of journals including Critical Inquiry and Chicago Review and books including The Raymond Williams Reader. Ben Watson writes that “To look at a Raworth collage. . . is to topple into a giddying space, as if someone had taken relativity theory seriously. . . . Just as a poet infuses each syllable with libidinal charge, each fragment has been obsessed on. These images have been extracted from the throwaway world of newspapers. . .and dipped in reflection about what makes history and what constitutes subjectivity.” Raworth lives in Cambridge, England.

 >> TNWK
is a collaborative authorship of poetic and visual practices. Kirsten Lavers and cris cheek bring specialist histories in poetry, site-specific installation and situated cultural practice; their common grounds include performance, bookworks, photography, video and curatorial intervention. TNWK’s work focuses on conversation and participation, to produce ‘portraits of value’ (exploring tensions between the societal, the communal and the political), using a diversity rather than a singularity of modes and media. They refresh conventions around portraiture, in works that nod towards the eighteenth century conversation piece; small-scale group portraits of people sharing common activities. TNWK (an acronym drawn from early work made as Things Not Worth Keeping) re-locate the portrait as documenting neighborhoods of the everyday, the intersections between people, things, places and specific moments in time. TNWK produce ‘objects’ that spark conversation about value.

Exhibition photographs by Tom Raworth
Readings and talks recorded by Justin Katko