Storytelling Painters and Poets: The Relationships Between Painting and Spoken Word

An abstract painting with material draped in front of it like a curtain
Sarah Cain, Martha, 2018, acrylic and UV seal on stretched and hanging canvas, 84 x 48 inches, collection of Beth Rudin DeWoody

This event takes place at Saratoga Arts, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.

Authoritative voices have defined poetry and visual art—the “sister arts”—in relation to each other in ways that have even elided their obvious differences. What is gained, lost, transformed when shared discourses of art are used for both media? Their supposed similarity is famously characterized in Horace’s Ars Poetica by the dictum “ut pictura poesis” “as is painting, so is poetry” …

Two poets, a painter and a writer have a lively discussion around this topic with some time for questions from the audience.

The event features:

  • Bernadette Mayer, poet

  • John Yau, poet

  • Sarah Cain, painter

  • John O’Grady, moderator

This event will be held in-person at Saratoga Arts in the main gallery space. Seating will be provided, registration is required to attend. This event will also be live streamed and be added to Saratoga Arts’ members-only accessible library for future viewing.

All in-person attendees are required to present proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (card or excelsior pass) or negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours. No exceptions — entry will be denied without proof for the health and safety of all.

About the participants

Bernadette Mayer
Bernadette Mayer is the author of over 27 collections, including most recently, Memory, Siglio Press (2020), Works and Days (2016), Eating The Colors Of A Lineup Of Words: The Early Books of Bernadette Mayer (2015) and The Helens of Troy (2013), as well as countless chapbooks and artist-books. She has received grants from The Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, National Endowment for the Arts and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She is also the recipient of the 2014 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. From 1980-1984, she served as the director of the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, and has also edited and founded 0 to 9 journal and United Artists books and magazines. She has taught at the New School for Social Research, Naropa University, Long Island University, the College of Saint Rose, Miami University and at University of Pennsylvania as a Kelly Writers House Fellow. Her influence in the contemporary avant-garde is felt widely.

John Yau
John Yau is a poet, critic, curator, and publisher of Black Square Editions, which is dedicated to poetry, fiction, translation, and essays. He contributes regularly to the online magazine, Hyperallergic Weekend. He has written or contributed to forthcoming monographs on Helen Pashgian, William Tillyer, Richard Hunt, and Liu Xiaodong. Omnidawn will publish his book of poetry, Genghis Chan on Drums, in the fall of 2021. He is currently working on a monograph on Joe Brainard.

Sarah Cain
Sarah Cain is an artist who explores and expands upon traditional ideas of painting. Cain works on canvases of all sizes, often modifying surfaces by cutting and braiding, altering and disfiguring a composition until the original image is no longer recognizable. Sarah Cain earned her MFA at the University of California at Berkeley in California and her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Aspen Art Museum; and Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh.

Exhibitions of her work are being presented in 2021 at The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, the Momentary in Bentonville, Arkansas; and at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College. A 2020 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painter & Sculptors Grant, Cain currently Lives and works in Los Angeles.

John O'Grady
John P. O'Grady was born in New Jersey and born again in the mountains of the American West. As an undergraduate he studied forestry in the state of Maine, where he discovered the writings of Stephen King were far more interesting than cutting down trees, so he went on to pursue graduate studies in American literature at the University of California, Davis. For more than a quarter century he served as a professor of literature and environmental studies. For a few years he played the role of Poetry Editor at the journal Terra Nova, until the publisher pulled the plug on funding. But the poetry goes on. These days he lives quietly in the Catskill Mountains, where he ponders peculiar episodes in the region’s history and writes about them for the local paper. He is the author of Pilgrims to the Wild (1993), Grave Goods: Essays of a Peculiar Nature (2001), Certain Trees: In the Catskill Mountains (2018), and two forthcoming books, Landmarks Revisited and Waypoints.

This artist talk is made possible by generous underwriting support of the the Tang Teaching Museum, sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation.

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