In a way, my idea of the interaction between the visual and verbal images in each work in this show is similar to Nathan Langston’s idea of it as an ekphrastic encounter. To present an argument, you see, is like presenting an idea of something, as an ekphrastic text tries to present an idea of what a painting or sculpture is.
I hope my discussion will swerve partly away from that, though, into the more common assumption of arguments as clashes of different views. Take, for example, the obvious quarrel between the graphic elements of Cy Twombly’s Untitled (1971). Is it territorial–an actual battle to determine which of the two should control the field of play? Or is “game” a better term, since the work certainly conveys a sense of playing a game or sport (which often concern gaining territory)? I hope our discussion of the works I’ve chosen will lead to our own (useful!) quarrels as to which side involved is the “winner” of each work, aesthetically, or if instead a tie results.
I also hope to get into the nature of the different maneuvers of the words and visual images in the works—and how, if successful artistically, they rattle viewers into refreshingly new ways of appreciating a kind of art that is usually “only” visually or verbally expressive.
Bob Grumman is a retired substitute teacher living in Port Charlotte, Florida. He has been active as a visual poet, specializing in what he calls “visiomathexpressive poetry.” His major collection of such poems is April to the Power of the Quantity Pythagoras Times Now (2008). He writes a guest column on the Scientific American website, where he addresses various kinds of mathematical poems. A contributing editor to Small Press Review with a regular column about poetry, Grumman has also written two books of criticism: Of Manywhere-at-Once (3rd ed. 1998) and From Haiku to Lyriku (2007). One of Grumman’s central interests is what he calls “plurexpressive art,” or art which makes significant aesthetic use of two or more expressive modalities, such as words and visual images. More information about his poetry may be found at poeticks.com/internet-homes-of-poems-by-bob-grumman/ and on his Wikipedia entry.