Ekphrasis: Local artists and poets collaborate, inspired by the works of Leonardo da Vinci

Rebeccah Fewless speaks about her drawing titled ”Touch.”

Thirty people packed the South Santiam Hall Gallery for Ekphrasis, an art exhibit based on collaborations between local artists and poets. The poems were inspired by famous works of Leonardo da Vinci, and the local artists then used the resulting poems to inspire their own works of art.

The idea was first pitched to Anne Magratten by Jeff Davis, regional director for the Benton Center.

“At first he was just proposing ‘okay, we’ll show the poets images of da Vinci and have them write poems.’ But I’m an art teacher, and an artist, and I was like, I want there to be one more step in our collaboration,” said Magratten.

The collaboration was welcomed by LBCC student and curator Michael Bosch.

“I just thought it would be a really great opportunity to further immerse myself in art and poetry community and just a unique way to exercise my creativity,” said Bosch.

Each collaboration was first introduced by the da Vinci piece used for inspiration, followed by a brief explanation by the poet and then a reading. Each artist elaborated on their interpretation of the poem and how it influenced their work.

“I wanted to focus on touch and that longingness for something you can’t have,” said Rebecca Fewless, whose piece, “Touch,” was inspired by “There is no more poetry in me to sing–,” a poem by Alyssa Campbell inspired by da Vinci’s drawing of a pair of hands.

The installation will be moved and reassembled at da Vinci Days, which takes place in Corvallis May 15-20. The pieces are also being organized into a publication.

“We’re gonna get it all in one place in a publication, get it out — and if you’re able and interested, any proceeds from that project will be reinvested in English endowment programs here, so it’ll come back to you one way or another,” said Davis.

Ekphrasis will be in South Santiam Hall for viewing until May 3.

Story and Photos by K. Rambo