Perhaps we should have expected it, given the striking examination of a cut tree that Kevin Morrow's art provided, but "Collective Origins" inspired many writers to engage in unique ways with environmental issues and questions of mortality: the sum of a life counted up, lives cut short, lives grown together.
In the end, we were drawn by Pamela Johnson Parker's ability to engage with Kevin Morrow's image and also with the literary history of the Odyssey. Yes, a voice in the poem interrupts. The tree? The poet? Us? Molly Bloom from Joyce's Ulysses? Yes.
Parker's title ("Ulysses/Uxoria") seemed to us to be key to the poem, so we ended up, in the final Broadsided publication, keeping it. There the two stand: art and poem, side by side, like trees in a forest. Together making a rich conversation.
As with every Broadsided publication, you can read what the artist and author thought of the whole process in our Collaborators' Q&A.
Thank you to all who submitted work. Thank you to all who will spread this among their communities by posting it. We hope that passers-by who never expected it will be startled into lingering, reading, looking, thinking.
Elizabeth Bradfield & Mark Temelko
Notes on the Curatorial Process
All Broadsided artists were invited to submit up to three pieces of work for the Switcheroo. We then asked Elizabeth Terhune, Broadsided artist and the April, 2008 Switcheroo artist, to review the submissions, choosing two that she thought would be open to literary response and would work in the Broadsided format. She selected Kevin Morrow's piece and one by Helen Beckman Kaplan, which was Switcheroo-ed in November, 2008.
Of her decision, Terhune had this to say:
I selected Kevin Morrow's drawing, "Collective Origins," because it could reference so many things: tree growth rings, time, anxiety, pressure, water drops, finger prints, night skies, memory, and on. It also manages to engage dualities, and that interested me. It is lumpy and biomorphic but also possess an atmospheric quality. While suggesting a kind of topography seen from ariel perspective it also speaks of interiority.
The graphic quality, which I responded to instantly, is complicated by the obsessive nature of his having to draw all those concentric rings and seeing the hand of the artist. And it has interesting dimensions.
The Switcheroo selection process is blind. In the interest of full disclosure, however, it should be noted that while I don't know Kevin, I do know his uncle. This was not a factor in selecting his drawing, it is a fine drawing that I selected because I believed it would be a good choice to inspire some poets.
Elizabeth Terhune received her MFA from Hunter College and her BA from Oberlin College. She was the recipient of a Yaddo Fellowship in 1998. She has exhibited widely throughout the United States and recently had a one-person exhibition at the Lake George Arts Project, Lake George, NY (www.lakegeorgearts.org). You can view some of her work online at www.elizabethterhune.com, and selected works in the Pierogi Gallery Flat Files, Brooklyn, NY. She teaches painting and drawing at the 92nd Street Y and at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies in New York City. She lives in upper Manhattan with her husband.