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Cross Village – Three Pines Studio’s first exhibit of 2017—Visual Odes: A Tribute to Pablo Neruda—is set to kick-off with an Opening Reception on May 27, from 2-7pm. This all-media exhibition explores and celebrates the odes of Neruda, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1971. The exhibit will be on display from May 27 through June 27 at Three Pines Studio, located at 5959 West Levering, in Cross Village.
Pablo Neruda was a Chilean born poet (1904-1973). Although he is well known for his love poems, it is his odes that have left a deep and lasting impression. He wrote odes to ordinary objects used by ordinary people, what he called “Elemental Odes.” Odes to a seagull, socks, a hummingbird, an onion. His romantic use of language is imbued in these odes, which are full of emotion and visual wonder.
The show includes 18 artists, hailing from Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Cross Village, Walloon Lake, Gaylord, and Good Hart. Each artist began with a specific Neruda ode as a starting point. Susan Fox, an assemblage artist from Walloon Lake, took the opening of Ode to My Socks and jumped down the rabbit hole of internet research. The ode begins, “Maru Mori brought me / a pair / of socks / which she knitted herself / with her sheepherder’s hands…” Fox laments, “Many of my assemblage pieces use a wooden artist mannequin as a base, and all have been female forms, but how to incorporate a doll into a piece about a pair of socks and around a poem written by a man?”
Fox learned that Maru and her husband, Chilean painter Camilo Mori, were friends of Neruda’s. She found photos of Maru online and did research about the area they resided in, even going as far as contacting a knitting store near where Neruda lived, to inquire about what kind of yarn would have been used during this time period. Fox decided, “To focus on how this magnificent pair of socks came into being in the first place—and since Neruda named the knitter and described her sheepherder’s hands—a knitting woman was born!” Her finished piece honors the story of the people and places behind the scenes of the ode.
Doug Melvin, Ode to Apple, is a sculpture (32” x 22”) that captures you and lures you into the apple and is a visual narrative of its significance to the world and its people. As he explains in his artist statement: “Growing up in Indiana in the 1950’s, I read and heard many stories about “Johnny Appleseed”, whose real name was John Chapman, and who died in Fort Wayne in 1845 at the age of 70. A famously kind and generous man, he had spent most of his life traveling across Pennsylvania and the Midwest, living simply and close to the earth, planting apple trees, and preaching about his Swedenborgian faith. I think he would have immediately understood and revered Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to the Apple” in its belief that human beings can find harmony in enjoying and celebrating the simple pleasures and products of Nature. Chapman and Neruda must have seen the apple as one of Nature’s simplest gifts, one from which we have all taken pleasure and sustenance. In the current era, when so many complicated issues divide us, both Chapman and Neruda have pointed to a way for us to forget our differences and come together in simple pleasures.