Verbal Art and The Narnia Quartet: It’s unheard of!!

Verbal Art and The Narnia Quartet: It’s unheard of!!

By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer

Poetry, in the eyes of many it seems, has lost the appeal that it once enjoyed in the last century due to the introduction of television, radio, and easier access to audial entertainment. Although the actual art of poetry, or “verbal manipulation” has adapted to the times and developed into more contemporary forms such as hip-hop, rap and beat poetry, fewer people are interested in reading the stuff. More are interested in popping in the latest rap CD to get their dose of word art, which is not to be frowned upon, but even those people need some reminding of where that art form came from—the written word.

In light of the declining enthusiasm for poets and their work, a small gang of local artists has organized a show to make the weight of well-chosen words easier to consume. Integrating text into the visual pieces is intended to help the reader understand the ideas behind abstract poetry, and enjoy the actual reading of more classical, formulated forms. Verbal Art: The Awakening will premier at RAW Art Studio Gallery, 2500 N. Main St. May 2 and 3 starting at 7 p.m. both nights. This showing, in conjunction with Rainbowassed Fool Productions, will mark a high-point for area poets, writers and artists.

Works featuring verbal integration will be able mostly by Jesus Correa, Marieke McClendon and Molly Fleming. Devin Henry and Peter Gullato will show multi-media pieces; Nathan Hemenway will show ink works and acrylics; Christina Ditzler will present various forms of media including embroidery and pastels, and Peter Heidenreich will exhibit works of photography.

The two-night show includes entertainment for attendees. Friday night’s events will be coordinated by Correa and entail an independent video premier, an open mic poetry reading, a comedy “skit” by Correa and some readings from the artists. Saturday evening, we are fortunate enough to have Matt Ulery’s The Narnia Quartet perform at 9 p.m. Hailing from the “Windy City”, this group can only be described as “new music”, but would loosely fall under the category of contemporary jazz. Comprised of bass, drums, sax and keyboard, The Narnia Quartet will provide Rockford with a rarely heard sound. Ulery, who grew up in Rockford, is well-known in the area as a highly-regarded upright, acoustic and electric bassist. The group also includes John Celebi on drums, Tim Haldeman on Sax and Andrew Toombs on keyboard.

Ranging from acrylics and oils on canvas to ink on bar napkins, Verbal Art: The Awakening will display a wide arena of different media. RAW Art Studio Gallery has a good deal of open space that the cast of this show will be able to take advantage of. The last show this group of artists organized (Charlie: The Hapless Discovery) had a great turnout, and many of the visitors came away with some fairly interesting memories. The coordinators hope to do the same thing this time around. As with all Rainbowassed Fool Productions, the show is free. A $3 suggested donation is encouraged as the band is driving in from out-of-town and should get paid something. RAW Art Studio Gallery is on N. Main Street. in the old Atwood building, across the street from Pino’s. Parking is available behind Cal-Cars. Information: call 399-2375 (leave a message).

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