Wednesday, June 19, 2013

'Writing into Art' - University of Strathclyde's Conference on Ekphrasis

'Ekphrasis' is the word of the day. 'Ek - phra - sis.' I've been spelling it out this morning like a Sesame Street character, trying to get accustomed to slipping the word into daily conversation.

And it's not just for show. Today is the second day of University of Strathclyde's conference 'Writing into Art' at Kelvingrove Museum - a conference studying ekphrasis - the relationship between literature and the visual arts. The event, organised by Scottish poet David Kinloch is being attended by writers with an interest in ekphrasis, and visual artists whose work involves the use of text. David will be chairing a programme that combines critical and creative practice. For example, a workshop this morning takes its inspiration from notable GSA alumni Steven Campbell whose use of visual motifs in his paintings acted as narratives. Another, led by the artist Tom Chambers, will look at how young artists are working with text. Responses to the collections at Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery will inevitably, help to inform the discussion.

The illustrious history of literature and art is exemplified in Romantic times by John Keat's 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' in which the poet responds to the decorative scenes painted on the iconic work of art. There are modern-day examples of poets using works of art in their writing, for example, A.S. Byatt, as well as collaborations such as the one between Auden and sculptor Henry Moore. Interest in ekphrasis is growing with a rise in 'picture poems,' and criticism on the subject and continuing poet- artist collaborations.

GSA's Ellen McAteer has written a very interesting blog around part one of the conference, held yesterday at this link.