I have undertaken many shared creative endeavors over the years and am usually involved with one or two, small or large, at any given time. Collaboration is a blast, and sooooo good for the creative cookbook. It’s all about generosity, compromise, trust and receptivity. All things that the world could use more of. My most recent collaboration was with my husband, photographer David Ondrik; see installation shots from our exhibit here.
In 2002, I began talking to poet/friend Jennifer Frank about exchanging work; trading her poems for my art, each of us would respond to the work we had received, before trading again. We began to think of these works as a combined body of work, and 18 months after our first exchange, in April 2004, we exhibited Cross Pollination at the Harwood Art Center. The exhibit featured large-scale framed poems, two poems written on the walls, drawings, sculptural and photographic work. After installation, we drew "pollen" lines on the floor with yellow contractor’s chalk, so viewers could trace the path of exchange, bouncing between art and poems and getting a sense of how the process worked. Jennifer carried the exchange a step further by enlisting our musician friend Bee to respond to her poems with evocative electronic music. Bee performed at Jennifer’s reading for the Cross Pollination reception. It was marvelous!
In a concept designed by New Mexico poet Lisa Gill, eight artists were invited to respond to two books of poetry: Lisa’s Mortar & Pestle and Purvi Shah’s Terrain Tracks. This interdisciplinary exhibit traveled from the upper Midwest to the Southwest, posing collaboration as an initiative for community growth and national exchange. Four visual artists from New Mexico responded to the work of Lisa Gill, while four visual artists from New York respond to the work of Purvi Shah. The exhibition Tributaries first premiered at the Spirit Room in Fargo, North Dakota, for the New Rivers Press Literary Festival in October 2006, and was exhibited at 516 ARTS April 6–May 12, 2007.