Abington artists, poet contemplate loss and renewal

Love Bernstein Kramlich

Books, the centerpiece of the installation, bloomed while burning to become delicate and chaotic. It created a new beauty just as people can transform their lives after a loss.

Credit: Penn State

ABINGTON, Pa. — Four women with deep connections to Penn State Abington merged art and poetry into a soulful exhibit and performance staged last month at a historic space in Philadelphia's trendy Old City neighborhood.

Art faculty Yvonne Love and Dawn Kramlich collaborated with poetry instructor Laura Bernstein to create a large-scale installation exploring absence, loss and beauty. Abington alumna Carrie Hagen curated the Salon Series event at Christ Church Neighborhood House.

Kramlcih Bernstein Love
Credit: Penn State

"Gilding Fissures: Variations on Existence" featured performances of Bernstein's poetry, developed during the collaboration, as well as discussions with the poet, Kramlich and Love.

The installation explored the fracturing, evolution and creation of new components of the self while processing loss — finding beauty after sadness or devastation.

The Salon at Christ Church
Credit: Penn State

The burned books signify the act of desperately attempting to digest or even eradicate immense grief, only to realize that it will never completely disappear. A person can be whole. The absence will always be there, but one is reborn through it. 

artists poets

Yvonne Love, Laura Bernstein and Dawn Kramlich, left to right, unveiled their first collaboration at the Neighborhood House at Christ Church in Old City Philadelphia. 

Credit: Penn State

Love, Kramlich and Bernstein were in the process of discovering ways to merge their poetic and artistic concerns when they connected with The Neighborhood House. The trio seized the opportunity, juxtaposing texts, images and the conversations that emerged from their collaboration.

Love is an assistant professor and Kramlich is an instructor in the Penn State Abington art program. Bernstein teaches poetry courses.