Words and Pictures is a collaborative exhibition by partners Trudy Stern and Michael Morgulis. This show features seven silkscreen prints from 1983 designed by Morgulis as well as twelve new prints that combine Stern’s poetry with digital paintings designed by Morgulis. The show focuses on the progression of the artists’ collaborative words and images. Stern and Morgulis will present a Poetry Reading and Commentary at the Book Arts Center on Friday June 16th at 5pm.
Michael: Over the past few years Trudy, who loves traveling as much as I don’t, would send me a postcard or letter or an email from her travels containing a poem or two. Eventually, it occurred to us that it might be possible to reprise our efforts to work together in collaboration like we did as young artists and writers nearly 40 years ago. At the time, as we both recently recalled, it was a lot of hell as well as a lot of joy. We started out by making posters and poetry broadsides for the Just Buffalo Literary Center, which is a whole other story to be written. The joy part of working together was in the feeling that happens when one is being creative. The hell part was that, as two idealists with big egos who were also at the beginning of our life relationship, we fought like hell over every mark, every color, every font on the page.
Trudy: So, why do this again? Because now that we have spent 40 years together, we’ve learned a few things about collaboration. Working separately, the way artists and writers often do, we honed our skills. In a time of technology that has changed from when we first started out, we have adapted and applied new methods of communication. From my nurse practitioner office at the student health office, I often email a poem or two to Michael. Sometimes it is a poem I started in Paris or Jerusalem or from a meditation retreat in the Catskills. It is usually accompanied by the header “new poem”.
Michael: I am usually at my studio or storefront gallery when I receive the missive. Sometimes I am framing a print or waiting on a customer. Intrigued, I read the poem, keep it on my desktop for as long as it takes for an image to appear on the blank page of the part of my brain that invents images and then, drawing on whatever design skills I’ve accumulated over the past 40 years, I transfer it to my computer to be turned into a print. It is our unique collaborative process. Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t.