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Thursday, May 24, 2018

When your art moves someone to write poetry about it...

...That's just what happened recently with my painting, "Gabriel",  which is in my current show Spirit○Animal, at Art Plus Gallery. I am always so thankful (and still a little surprised...) when my artwork moves someone enough to buy it and take it home... actually live with it and see it every day!  What an amazing thing!  But this was something different.  I met the poet, Catherine Mahony (Cat) at the gallery the other day. She is a poet who writes what she calls ekphrastic poetry explaining to me that she tries to interpret poetry using language that evokes an understanding of the painting, even if it can't be seen. Looking into the definition of ekphrastic poetry a little deeper, I found that an ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning. (More on this type of poetry can be found here)

Fascinating!! I never had heard of this before.  What a wonderful thing...
 She asked if she could write a poem about Gabriel, as it moved her and spoke to her on so many levels. I was of course incredibly honored and told her yes, I'd love it if she did.  So, this is her poem, her interpretation of my painting.  I have to say, the painting was very personal to me and evolved in my studio over the course of several months with some meanings specific to me  and my creative life, when I was painting it.  For me, it actually does not have the dark undertones and meanings that Cat saw in it, as I have a different relationship with Gabriel... But, that being said, once a piece of artwork is created and put out there for the world to see, the artist releases the artwork to move people and affect them in their own personal way... That is the absolute beauty of artwork and I am thankful and honored that my artwork evokes such feeling in others. 
And, thank you Cat, for taking the time to write such a beautiful poem.

Gabriel, oil and cold wax, 24"x24", Sold

Catherine J. Mahony

5/23/18

Gabriel’s Purgatory
(An Ekphrastic poem, depicting “Gabriel,” an artwork by Karen Weber)


Hark the Herald Angels embark,
on a journey that unfolds here-
please hold here,
this collage.
Adhere here
to this
fantastical pentacle,
of a Raven’s portrait.
May I escort you
into a realm
of crimson realities…
This frailty
displaces me.
Once upon a midnight dreary,
Poe paced his floor boards-
weak and weary.
Dreary you may think
this tale appears.
Awaken now,
all your hopes and fears.
Come near once,
come hear once…
Listen as I squawk!
My ebony feathers drip
with beads of burgundy,
I am warning thee-
do not come forth
with promises you can
no longer keep;
Rather look upon
this piece
and weep…
for all who were lost,
for all whom we keep.
I will tell you a secret,
but please do not tell...
There is no Heaven,
there is no Hell.
A purgatory
is where
we all tread…
Black birds prey on Gods -
our souls they are fed.
So when this bird
with crimson wings,
lurks upon
your door and sings,
Please don’t fret or
run and hide-
Just pray
he doesn’t come inside.
This is my body,
and this is my blood…
Come let us feast,
come bathe in the flood!
The moon is full,
as I bask in it’s glow.
Mother Earth is due soon;
She will bear children,
who howl at perched crows.
I know something
you don’t know…
This poem is homeless
and Squats under this tree.
It feeds on the berries
I drop from my beak.
So the next time you long for
a place call home…
just ask me,
Gabriel,
for a place
of your own.
You see it’s just me,
and this old oak,
and we loom here alone!

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