"shutters/dead ends/lens/pens": An Artistic Tennis Match at Inspiration Studios

Feb. 2, 2015
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under the influence zuback

“shutters/dead ends/lens/pens”– now on display at West Allis’ Inspiration Studios until February 28 – is a productively antagonistic collaboration between writer David Press and visual artist/photographer William Zuback. The exhibition is the result of a fourteen-month artistic tennis match between the artists. Zuback or Press would put the ball in play by presenting a work (either photographic or literary) to the other, who, duly inspired, would respond in kind by picking up the thread of the other’s work.

For example, the photo at the head of this post is a response to the following poem from Press’ pen:

If I explain until I bleed, will you hold your breath until you understand? She shut me in the closet.
I studied the nap of coats. She locked me in the trunk. I heard a piano sonata. She took away my food.
I memorized tasted of citrus. She bound me in the bed. I dreamed of midnight forests.
She took away my shoes. I danced a habanera. She left me. She left me. I bled. I spun my breath.

Both artists are Wisconsinites and both have backgrounds that are suitably unusual to be perfect for the cultivation of engaging art. Press has run an educational publishing company, sold battery-operated Santa Clauses, and authored six young adult nonfiction books on abolitionists and environmentalists among other things. For over fifteen years, Zuback has been exhibiting photographs inspired by the classic album covers of the 60's and 70's.

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