silverspot: a graphic novel
Regardless of what I have going on or how busy my schedule might be, I never pass up the opportunity to participate in a show curated by Bronwyn Minton. So many artists feel similarly. Her imaginative and inventive shows are always playful and full of life and hold the possibility for exploration into unknown terrain. Knowing that your work will blend with the work of others, becoming part of a community voice of local artists, adds to the enticement.
Silverspot: a Graphic Novel, currently hanging in the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s Wapiti Gallery, is Minton’s latest addition to her curated repertoire, which have included Fortune Cookie, Exquisite Corpse, Exquisite Animal and many more. Silverspot is both an exhibition as well as a graphic novel. Knowing that the show would hang in the museum, Minton explored the written works of Ernest Thomas Seton, a naturalist, artist, writer and the founder of the Boy Scouts, and resonated with the story of Silverspot the crow. The words were strong, the imagery vivid, and two Seton drawings are part of the museum’s collection, making a strong connection between the museum and story.
Silverspot was divided into 65 short passages and distributed to the same number of local, regional, and guest artists, who were also given a 16x 20 sheet of paper to create upon. All artists had to include their passage in their piece in a mandatory font and stay within the borders of the paper in order to maintain consistency and be easily produced into book form. After that, anything was possible-paint, graphite, ink, collage, sculpture-the materials, techniques and approaches endless.
The final product is stunning, both as an exhibition and as a book. When I walked into the gallery on opening night there were already close to fifty people present, most walking slowly around the periphery of the room, reading the story of Silverspot as they stepped, taking in the vibrancy and uniqueness of each piece of artwork. There was not much conversation, not your usual art opening chatter, rather a quietness that spoke of viewer thoughtfulness and taking the time to soak up the visual story on the walls. From abstracted pieces in black and white to highly illustrative pages, the story of an amazing crow, his witness, and the wonders of nature weave its way around the gallery. It was inspiring to see the approach of each artist, how the text was incorporated into the work, how the passages were interpreted and put into visuals, and mostly the talent of our local artists. Minton has once again ignited imaginations, in both artists and viewers, while fostering and nurturing community arts in a playful and unobtrusive manner.
Silverspot: A Graphic Novel hangs until February 16, 2013 at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Books are $25 and available for purchase at the Museum shop.