Calligraphy and Poetry: Thomas Ingmire in Collaboration with David Annwn

This exhibition traces the collaboration between calligrapher/book artist Thomas Ingmire and the Anglo-Welsh poet David Annwn as they explore processes though which they create works in response to the texts and images of the other. As Bruce Nixon has written “Their collaboration, which began in the early 2000s, is based on ekphrasis, a rhetorical device from antiquity, in which one art medium is described by another, thus heightening its affect for viewers or readers. In this case, the poet sends a poem to the calligrapher, who answers it with an image, which is then returned to the poet to become the basis of another poem, and so on, back and forth, an evolutionary process which, from the calligrapher’s perspective, yields a dynamic exchange, provoking the visualization of the written word well beyond the safety of individual style. As a collaborative undertaking, it is at once conversational and deeply personal.” Over the last ten years, David and Thomas have collaborated on twelve one-of-kind books, innovative calligraphic and poetry experiments, and several printed books. Most of these works will be on display for this exhibition.

Thomas Ingmire has been living in San Francisco’s North Beach since 1972, which coincides with his interests in calligraphy, drawing, painting, and bookmaking. His early work focused on teaching and calligraphic research involving the exploration of calligraphy as a fine arts medium. Beginning in 2002, he turned to the creation of artist’s books. He has embarked on a number of collaborative projects, including the Pablo Neruda and Federico García Lorca series of books with Manuel Neri; work as an illuminator on the St. John’s Bible; and the creation of original books in collaborations with poets from the UK, Singapore, the Republic of the Philippines, and the United States. His works are found in the Artist Book Collections of Stanford University, UCLA, USC, Yale University, Baylor University, University of Denver, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, San Francisco Public Library, the Newberry Library in Chicago, and many others. He also has paintings in a number of collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England, the Stiftung Archiv der Akademie der Kunste (Academy of Fine Arts), Berlin, Germany, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA, and the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.

David Annwn is an Anglo-Welsh poet, critic and playwright resident in West Yorkshire, England. He lectures for the Open University in Manchester and Leeds. Nobel Prize-winner Seamus Heaney wrote that David’s work is “wonderfully sensitive and accurate”. John Goodby has called his poem-sequence Bela Fawr’s Cabaret, (2008) “Annwn’s masterpiece” in a “new mode”. Geraldine Monk has written of the “delicious abandon and undiluted energy” of his poetry. Also of note is Annwn’s DADADOLLZ (2010) collaboration with Christine Kennedy and his work with musicians Mick Beck and John Cowey. Recent publications include Thel-Time (2010), (ed.) Dracula’s Precursors, (2011), and Gothic Machine, (2011), Annwn’s major study of the literature of horror 1875-1910, film, and pre-cinematic technology. Annwn has written a lengthy paper about his collaborations with Thomas Ingmire.

Book Club of California

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