Stephen F. Austin State University

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'Pen & Pigment' exhibition features SFA student art and poetry

March 7, 2013 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES - A collaborative project between Stephen F. Austin State University student writers and artists will culminate in the annual "Pen & Pigment" exhibition, which opens at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in Griffith Gallery, located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building.

In this year's exhibition, SFA creative writing students, under the direction of Assistant Professor Jen McClanaghan, have created poems and short pieces that were inspired by artwork designed by students in the SFA School of Art, and vise versa, according to Ron King, painting instructor for the School of Art.

"As both the art and writing students generated the first round of original work - each in his or her own imagination, either at desk or easel or sequestered in studio or monkish cell - we gave each one of three objects to use as inspiration: vintage banjo, kewpie doll and a small statue of a toreador, so that the pieces were already in conversation with each other before they were shared and exchanged," McClanaghan said.

The project allows participants to "talk about the inner lives of ordinary objects and how something simple can be transformed by the imagination," she said, "while at the same time introducing students to the long relationship between art and writing."

In doing so, the students learn about collaboration and how to balance the free reign of their imagination and sensibility with an imposed limitation, meaning they can interpret the object in any way they desire, but the object must be addressed, the instructors explained.

"Pen & Pigment" has enjoyed great success in previous years and has been well attended, King said.

"It's unique in that it allows writers to have a public opening and allows student artist to gain new perspectives on their work and ideas based on the vision of collaboration," he said.

The show, which is a joint presentation of the SFA College of Fine Arts, School of Art and the Creative Writing Program within the Department of English, is part of the Gallery Series. It will consist of 16 works of art partnered with the 16 poems that inspired them. The three objects used in the project will also be on display "so that the viewer is also included in the project and becomes one more participant in the collaboration," King said.

The show runs through April 19 and is sponsored in part by the Nacogdoches Junior Forum and SFA Friends of the Visual Arts. Regular hours for Griffith Gallery are 12:30 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Admission is free. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.