Helena Davis Gallery
September 23 - October 30, 2005
Opening Reception for the Artists
Friday, September 23, 2005
Reading by Deirdra McAfee at 6:30 PM
Celebrate Fourth Fridays at Plant Zero
Artspace Opening Receptions Are Now on Fourth Fridays from 6:00-9:00 pm
Visit and see ArtWorks' Openings next door on the same night
We carry with us the wonders we seek without us.--Sir Thomas Browne
Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime and falling into at night.--Edna St. Vincent Millay
What, after all, is mortality, but a state we become more and more familiar with, more and more a dweller in, until finally we attain full citizenship and emigrate forever?
"Emigrants" is a meditation on the dead: a poet, a scholar, and a gardener. Built on previous work in "Black Boxes" (2002) and "Margin" (2000), "Emigrants" continues the collaboration between Richmond Visual artist Mark Shepheard and writer Deirdra McAfee.
The exhibition uses motifs from nature in mixed media and writing to "correspond" with the departed. The writing draws on Eastern beliefs, on ideas of the 17th-century English philosopher Sir Thomas Browne, on the poetry of T. S. Eliot, and on the Sakuteiki, the world's oldest gardening guide.
The border between art and words continues to intrigue Shepheard and McAfee. They've maintained a collaboration unusual in its freedom. Neither discusses or modifies the other's work; they simply begin with shared ideas and keep each other informed.
The process is full of surprise and discover. The product is powerful, a striking and provocative combination of the visual and verbal.
About the artists: Visual artist Mark Shepheard and fiction writer Deirdra McAfee met in a class on making artists' books. Mark, a graduate of VCU (BFA), has been particularly interested in printmaking and monotypes and has a substantial exhibition record. Deirdra, a graduate of The New School (MFA, fiction) has been widely published; she teaches creative writing at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. This is their third collaboration.