Wonderfully WARPED

Written by Sophie M. Lavoie on October 10, 2018

The artists behind WARPED. Left to right: Emily Blair, Rebecca Salazar and Emily Kennedy at the event. Photo by Sophie M. Lavoie.

In the art world, casual conversations can lead to brilliant collaborations.

Artists Emily Kennedy, Rebecca Salazar and Emily Blair showcased their multidisciplinary collaborative project at Memorial Hall on Oct. 5, 2018 to an audience of fifty people hosted by UNB’s Art Centre.

The project, titled WARPED, stemmed from an fortuitous chat between the artists, that led to the creation of nine works of art, three from each of the individuals involved. The event showcased the works all three artists had generated.

Translation is the concept at the centre of this project, which received interdisciplinary creation funding from ArtsNB. Each individual artist produced a piece of art: a poem, a weaving and a piece of music. Subsequently, each of the other two “translated” that piece into their own medium.

The first piece of art to be translated in this way was a poem by Salazar titled “Hypothermia.” For Blair, this creation “set the tone for all the project.”

To decode the poem, Blair said she read it and decided to mirror its structure and themes in her weaving. She used two panels, silver and navy threads and a soft white wool which symbolized the snowdrift. For her part, Kennedy then composed a musical score using the poem, going letter for letter with “each bar [of music being] a word.”

Similar interpretations were created using original pieces by Kennedy and Blair. Kennedy used one of her first compositions, a sombre nostalgic piece of music called “Palmer in May.” Blair chose her striking blue and white square weaving called “Television,” that plays “with perspective and pattern.”

At the event, along with performing and showing their pieces, the artists explained their creative process, including the successes and struggles in the process in the translation of their respective pieces.

Kennedy, Salazar and Blair are already established artists, each in their own field.

Cellist and composer, Emily Kennedy was an emerging artist-in residence at UNB’s Centre for Musical Arts in 2017. She has completed various residencies both nationally and internationally and performed with a variety of different groups, including Symphony New Brunswick.

UNB PhD student Rebecca Salazar has already authored two books of poetry: Guzzle (Anstruther Press) and, forthcoming, the knife you need to justify the wound (Rahila’s Ghost). Originally from Sudbury, she is presently poetry editor for one of the top literary journals in Canada, The Fiddlehead.

A graduate of the NB College of Craft and Design Textile program, weaver Emily Blair has won numerous awards for her weavings and shown her work at various galleries. Blair is presently an Art History student at Concordia University.

Sophie M. Lavoie is a NB Media Co-op editorial board member. 

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