Saturday, 14 September 2013

Story of Light

Artist Claire Beynon chose my poem to respond to for Poetry in the Waiting Room's Art exhibition currently on at Bellamy's gallery in MacAndrew Bay, Dunedin.

... light on Dunedin harbour ... Claire lives around the corner and across the harbour from me.  This photo reminds me not only of where Claire lives, but of her paintings and the special way they capture light ...

When I learned that Claire was the artist producing an interpretation of my poem, 'Life's Work', I was thrilled. Claire (who is not only an artist, but also a writer) lives in Dunedin and I've had many opportunities over the years to view her art. Claire's work is always stunning; expansive, innovative and evocative. When I take the time to stand and look at her work - especially her paintings - I feel drawn into their story of light - of landscape and colour.

... detail from Michael Cooke's painting 'Poet' which features in a small way in Claire's interpretation of my poem. ( 'our son hanging paintings, / his life's work so far / in the balance; )

When I saw 'my' painting for this exhibition, I had that same response - the sense of being drawn into light, mood and place. Claire has worked her interpretive magic on the voice of my poem. The result is a painting that owns the flow and dance of the mood and light of place, seasons and time.

life's work

Today, washing the dishes,
the smell of dish-washing liquid,
the sound of distant conversation,
a grey warbler, the neighbour
putting in his vegetable garden;
our son hanging paintings,

his life's work so far
in the balance; I think
but maybe not
of the scent of haymaking
and the bliss

of stopping
for a picnic tea
on a woollen rug;
of the taste of sun
and time, not lost
so much as stoppered.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

In the audio-visual part of her exhibit (a typically generous and expansive extra from Claire) she has used (among other things) words, music, voice and various images (such as the surprise of maps and place names). As well, Claire has incorporated collaboration with other artists.

... obviously I can't give you a photo of the painting, so you'll have to go and see for yourself if you are lucky enough to be in Dunedin in September ...

The exhibition runs for all of the month September. On the afternoon of Sunday 15th September, there is a poetry reading which I am part of. The poet Sue Wootton is m.c. for this event and Emma Neale, David Eggleton, Brian Turner and myself are the featured poets. (Seating for this event has been booked out, but there is still standing room).


Joyce Ellen Davis said...

<3 Perfect!

Katherine Dolan said...

What a wonderful idea! It would be great to see the painting, but failing that, this is the perfect preview. The poem is lovely -- captures warm, appreciative moments of meditation (as do the photos).

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