Robert Wrigley and Dani Pavlic collaborate on art exhibit
Robert Wrigley, poet and University of Idaho English Department faculty member, has paired with Dani Pavlic, an emerging installation artist, in the group invitational exhibit Territory: Generational Triptychs at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane. The exhibit focuses on the unique dynamic created between local, established artists and those identified as “up-and-coming” artists.
“The idea for the exhibit,” says Ryan Hardesty, exhibit designer at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, “came out of conversations with Terrain, a grassroots non-profit arts organization whose mission is to connect generations of artists. Both the museum and Terrain share a goal of promoting arts awareness within the community at large.”
Wrigley admits collaboration is not something he’s well practiced in. “I'm perfectly upfront about being uneasy about collaborations, because I don't know what people are going to do with my words. All I have is the words and how I build them, how I put them together.” Why the sculptor, Pavlic? “What I have seen of her work led me to believe I just had to trust her. She’s very talented, very smart.”
Pavlic was born in Guatemala and describes her work as being heavily influenced by the exploration of her heritage, particularly her country’s 1960-1996 civil war and the genocide committed against the indigenous peoples there. “I hadn’t known about the genocide,” Pavlic explains. “To know what kind of atrocity genocide is – I was moved to create art based off of my research on genocide. My art is meant to educate.”
When asked how this seemingly unlikely pair was matched, Hardesty notes that the “the curatorial group recognized that Mr. Wrigley has dealt extensively with issues around war and violence in his poetry and became interested in what a partnership with Pavlic might yield. Wrigley's inclusion also offered a beautiful broadening of the range of the exhibition. How might an established poet and a young upstart sculptor come together to work on a shared project? Our thinking was, ‘“These people might make some interesting sparks together.’”
The collaborative piece plays heavily with the exhibit's triptych theme. Pavlic wanted to work on a sculpture that responded to the machetes used in genocides in Guatemala, Rwanda, and Cambodia.
Wrigley responded to Pavlic's idea with a trio of sonnets titled Genocide Triptych, in which, Pavlic explains, “he wrote about the theory, engine, and mass of genocide.” Using these poems as inspiration, Pavlic created a panel that features a machete broken into three pieces. Wrigley's sonnets are situated between each fragment of the machete.
The exhibit runs through January 7, 2012 and features nine other pairs of collaborating artists, besides the Wrigley-Pavlic collaboration. For more information on the exhibit, featured artists, and accompanying events, please visit www.northwestmusum.org.