March 2–30, 2012; Exhibition / Lecture / Poetry Reading / Collaborative Project
Jen Bervin’s work brings together text and textile in a practice that encompasses artist books, poetry, large-scale art works, and archival research. Her visual work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center and elsewhere. Bervin currently teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. View the Jen Bervin website.
The KBAC is pleased to join with Western Michigan University, the WMU English Department Speaker Series, the WMU Visiting Artist and Scholars Program, the Friends of the WMU Libraries, the Carole Ann Haenicke American Women’s Poetry Collection at Waldo Library, the University Center for the Humanities, the WMU Women’s Caucus, and the Gwen Frostic Reading Series to host poet and visual artist Jen Bervin for an exhibition, lecture, and poetry reading. During her visit Jen will also work in the KBAC studio to produce paper created with needle-woven mends in the KBAC’s papermaking screens.
Guest Artist: Jen Bervin
The Gorgeous Nothings
March 2–30, KBAC Gallery
Opening March 2 during Art Hop, 6 to 9 p.m.
Closing reception with the artist after the poetry reading, March 29, 7 p.m.
The exhibition will feature Emily Dickinson-based works by Jen Bervin. At KBAC, the new prints from The Gorgeous Nothings will take flight–suspended in the space at eye level in the configuration of a scatter diagram.
The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelopes by Jen Bervin and Marta Werner is a limited edition based on Emily Dickinson’s poems composed on envelopes. The large portfolio includes fifty color prints of facsimiles of Emily Dickinson’s envelope-poems at a 1:1 scale, with front and back views. A smaller diplomatic transcription for each fragment in a new font closer to Dickinson’s handwriting is quickly legible. Marta Werner’s essay, “Itineraries of Escape: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope-Poems” provides the scholarly, historic, and poetic context for these fragments. A guide by Jen Bervin discusses the edition, transcriptions, and the new font. Indexes, both scholarly and visual, are provided. The edition is housed in an archival box with an exterior drawing.
The Dickinson Composites is an artist book that focuses on a series of large-scale quilts Jen Bervin made by embroidering the poet Emily Dickinson’s unusual punctuation markings from her fascicles. The box, printed with enigmatic red crosses and dashes, contains two sewn samples (excerpts made at the same scale, in the same materials using the same methods as the quilts), large prints of each quilt, and a nested booklet. Like Dickinson’s manuscripts, the box and the works therein are encountered entirely without titles. In the booklet, an essay by Bervin elucidates Dickinson’s variant marking system in her poetry manuscripts and provides further context for the quilts.
While in residence at KBAC, Jen Bervin will create new works on paper based on mending samplers. Using the woven wire papermaking screens as sewing guides, a team of volunteers will “needle weave” thread into the screens; the mends will then be released and embedded in the handmade paper.
Small Infinities—Emily Dickinson’s Manuscripts
Wed., March 28, 4 p.m., Waldo Library, Special Collections, Edwin and Mary Meader Room
In this lecture Jen Bervin will focus on visual and verbal conjunctions in Dickinson’s manuscripts and look at how they intersect with earlier formal gestures in her herbarium, embroidery sampler, letters, and editions of books that she read, marked, or altered.
March 29, 7 p.m., Kalamazoo Book Arts Center Gallery
Please join us for a reading of new work by the author of The Gorgeous Nothings (2012), The Dickinson Composites (2010) and The Desert (2008) from Granary Books, and The Silver Book (2010), A Non- Breaking Space (2005), and Nets (2004) from Ugly Duckling Presse.