The March 1 issue of seveneightfive magazine featured an article by poetry editor Dennis Etzel, Jr., who wrote about the, “Art After Words,” exhibit at the Southwind Art Gallery, 3074 SW 29th Street. The show opened for the First Friday Art Walk on March 2 and features abstract art by Jennifer Rivera, shown with the poetry that inspired each piece, including poems by Etzel and other local and regional writers. The poets will be at the April 6 First Friday Art Walk event at Southwind Art Gallery from 6:00-8:00pm to read their poems. Please join them for this special event.

How did Art After Words come about?
I’ve always been fascinated by words of various forms (song lyrics, quotes, phrases, poetry, etc.), and I often find myself using those words as inspiration while painting. One afternoon I was working on a poetry-inspired piece and this idea to do an entire poetry inspired series kept nagging at me. I kept thinking that a sort of “reverse ekphrasis” type of series might be a fun challenge. I hadn’t done any sort of collaborative work before and I had no idea how it would pan out, but I decided to give it a shot. I sent out a local call to poets requesting poetry to use as inspiration for a series of abstract paintings. The call ended up going national, and I received poetry from as far as California and New York. Thirty-seven abstract paintings resulted from the collaboration and they were exhibited in a two-month run in the Kansas City Crossroads last Spring. The series was received very well by both the poets that were involved, as well as the general public.

Fast forward a few months to this past summer when I met Gary Blitsch of SouthWind Gallery. Gary contacted me about possibly showing some of my work in his space. Soon thereafter I met with him at his fantastic gallery and I knew right away he would be someone I would enjoy working with. I had brought a few pieces with me for him to check out and as we discussed them, I mentioned the collaborative show I had done. Gary loved the idea and we decided to try it again! We sent out another call to poets and received some really amazing poetry which has been a lovely inspiration to work with. The end result…Art After Words!

What similarities do you see between painting and poetry?
The most obvious similarity between painting and poetry is expression. Each art form uses their medium to express some sort of emotional journey. For me, the mark of both a good painting as well as a good poem is when the piece not only conveys the artist’s message, but also allows the viewer to connect with the piece and experience a journey that is all their own.

Known for edgy and emotionally evocative abstract paintings, Jennifer Rivera often employs the use of texture, bold strokes, and rich colors in her work. She has exhibited in many local KC shows as well as in Osage Beach and Des Moines, and has appeared in numerous publications. Rivera’s work has been purchased by collectors from across the country. Her works hang in both private and corporate collections.

[Interview by Dennis Etzel, Jr., poetry editor | Photo  by Tom Styrkowicz | 53Tom |  March 2012 ]

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