” ; ” Vielmetter / Los Angeles

December 23, 2022

In her collected lectures, Madness, Rack, and Honey, poet Mary Ruefle suggests that we might think of a life as one long sentence, separated by an infinite number of semicolons. She asks us to be grateful for the unsung punctuation’s conjunctive power: “it allows us to keep connecting speech that for all apparent purposes are unrelated.”

Going further, she adds: “you might say a poem is a semicolon… keeping together that whose nature is to fly apart.” Ruefle in mind, we might also think of the poet themselves (or for our purposes: the poetically minded artist and/or: the collected works on view) on such terms – connective tissue between seemingly unrelated experiences that give life substance. Apropos of my elusive subject, I offer no official thesis or instruction – only enthusiasm for these artists and gratitude for the gift that is poetry in its myriad forms.

; is an exhibition that includes artists who work with, towards, and through poems, poets or “the poetic.” I selected this diverse array of makers because of their relationship to poetry either in spirit, or in the literal sense, and because I desired to see their work in constellation under poetry’s umbrella. It is a celebration of these artists, their work, and their significance to me as an individual, while also as an attempt to complicate the rigid semantic distinctions placed upon arranged language or objects as either “poems” or “artworks.”

This exhibition is an invitation to think poetically, or as the great Hannah Arendt suggests: “without a banister.”

Respectfully yours,

Mark McKnight

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