Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Diptychs and Corpses

There is a bi-coastal encaustic project, The Diptych Project - A Collaboration in Wax, with artists from Portland, OR and Portland, ME which will be showing in April. This has been in process for several months between members of the International Encaustic Artists Guild on the west coast and New England Was members on the east coast. The members were randomly paired. Each artist made one original work, which was mailed with a blank foundation of the same size to her partner. So the original pieces crossed mid-country and arrived at their destinations, where the partner's project was to make a companion piece. The meaning of companion was left to the individual artists. Some of them are mates or a second half; some are more call and response. The next step will be for each coastal group to show the diptychs in their possession at a local gallery. The diptychs here are the originals from Portland, ME, and the response from Portland, OR, and they will be on display and for sale at the Brian Marki gallery April 4 - 30.

Writers often take ideas from somewhere or someone else and build on them. Or we write in response to something we see or hear or smell. But what if we found another writer with whom to create a written diptych? Each person write the beginning of a story, exchange them, and then the other person finishes it up. Or two poems, or the first 5 minutes of a 10-minute stage script. There are several variations on this for writing. One example - which can be really fun, especially with a medium size group (around 10 people) - is the "exquisite corpse" exercise : each person writes down an opening sentence from the same word prompt. Then all the paper is passed to the right (or left, doesn't matter) and the second person adds a line. Then person two folds the paper backwards just so the first sentence is not visible and the paper is passed to the next person. This continues until you are back at the beginning (one group I did this with, each person put a symbol they would recognize in the bottom right corner of the paper so they'd know, since the first line is no longer visible). Each person turns the paper down so that only their sentence is available for the next person to work with. When it is done, go around the group and read the creations from beginning to end. This is a great group cohesion exercise and can be a lot of fun with lively and wild stories.

Diptych by Serena Barton, IEA (top) + Dawna Bemis, NEW (bottom, "What If They Find Out", 36" x 18"