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.
"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 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.
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.