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Creative writing professor co-hosts nature-inspired exhibit

July 22, 2007

Artist Lisa Marie Sipe and poet Patricia Murphy have both found inspiration from their explorations of Arizona’s wild areas. This common theme in their paintings and poetry inspired them to collaborate on a project that represents sensory images from the natural world in a display of art and text. The collaborative exhibition will be featured at Eye Lounge Gallery in Phoenix from July 6 to July 28.

We started this project with a discussion of the different ways that poetry and paintings offer representations of the natural world,” says Murphy. “We wanted to turn those notions upside down; to allow people to experience the text as art and the art as text.” Their innovative exhibit challenges traditional notions of text and paintings by changing the way the two are displayed.

Sipe adds, “Once we decided how we wanted to display our work, we talked about how to create it. We wanted to experience nature together, but as individual artists. We took a trip to an Arizona trail neither of us had visited before, and we explored it together, interpreting it as one poet and one painter. This exhibit is about the two of us as artists: how we interpret the experience, how the experience is enriched by sharing it with another vision. We asked ourselves, are we drawn to different details? Do a poet and a painter see the world differently?”
Murphy continues, “The purpose of the collaboration was to explore and identify skills we use to communicate and capture experience. The outcome was that we grew as artists, we reflected on our relationships with craft, we shared an opportunity to interact with our individual art forms.”

Lisa Marie Sipe is an acrylic and encaustic painter based in Arizona. Her work is influenced by the inspiration she finds from her travels and the Sonoran desert around her. She explores the fingerprint of nature, pushing the boundaries of beauty. Sipe's work has been described as “abstract botanical.” Previous work includes large paintings of wood texture as seen through a microscope. Her new work maintains that organic feel.

Patricia Murphy’s poetry explores the intersections of culture and capitalism in the desert southwest. Her poems about the Sonoran landscape have appeared in over 20 literary journals, including The Iowa Review, Quarterly West, and American Poetry Review. She teaches Creative writing at ASU at the Polytechnic campus.

The show “Fossil Springs Cutaway” is named for the area in central Arizona that Murphy and Sipe explored, and a term from film that describes the technique of interrupting action by interjecting an alternative view. The collaborative exhibition will be featured at Eye Lounge Gallery in Phoenix from July 6-July 28th, with the First Fridays opening on Friday July 6th, and with a reception and reading on July 20th.