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Exploring The Connection Between Writer And Artist

The latest exhibition at the University Galleries in Normal allows contemporary women artists to explore the legacies of the writers who inspire them. It's Strange Oscillations and Vibrations of Sympathy, currently on view. Very much in the vein of inspiration, the title of the show was written by one writer, underlined by another and used to inspire a work of art.

Kendra Paitz is the curator of the show, which features contemporary women artist's response to the written works of other women, such as Virginia Woolf.  The title of the show was inspired by a specific reference to a quote in a text-based work by artist Stephanie Brooks. "She was going through copies of Plath's copies of Woolf's books," Paitz said of Brooks. "And was really struck by the different notations Plath had made. Stephanie made a selection of those notations where Plat underlined Woolf's words and then made these small text-base abstractions that look like pages of a book.  They are white plates that only have text where the underlined text would have fallen on the page. I loved using the artist's words as the title of the show." 

Paitz said she had been thinking about this exhibit for years and collecting artworks to show.  In addition, some of the works have been specially commissioned for the show that allows contemporary female artists a chance to explore the women writers who inspired them.  Chicago-based Dianna Frid is one of the artists whose work is on display.  She was inspired by Virginia Woolf's The Waves in her creation.  It's a book constructed with a variety of materials.  "It's not an illustration of what happens in Virginia Woolf's modernist novel.  It doesn't focus on a plot, but on a rhythm of language.  So using the word wave, piling one on top of another...accruing like a wave...until it begins to ebb. So that was my response to thinking about Woolf might have meant about not working for a plot, but working for a rhythm."

The show is up at the University Galleries in Normal through Dec. 18

Reporter, content producer and former All Things Considered host, Laura Kennedy is a native of the Midwest who occasionally affects an English accent just for the heck of it. Related to two U.S. presidents, Kennedy appalled her family by going into show business.