Canvas the Bear was the winning work at the 2016 GVSU New Music Ensemble composition competition. The competition solicits 60-second works from GVSU composers responding to artwork from a particular gallery showing. In 2016, we responded to “Great Lakes: Image and Word,” a collaborative exhibit featuring artist/poet pairs that responded to the vast impact of the lakes that surround Michigan.
For Canvas the Bear, I chose to respond to the work of Jill Eggers (painter and one of my past professors) and Jim Harrison (poet). The imagery of their works delighted me–in a relatively somber exhibit, theirs stuck out as energetic and positive. Harrison’s poems were a collection of Eastern-inspired reflections, and I particularly took to part of one, which read:
The bear broke free from his constellation
and loped through the cosmos thinking
Egger’s painted 9 works reflecting on the poetry, one of which prominently featured a large brown bear. My goal was to auditorily reflect the energy created in the artwork and to supply some sense of the momentum a bear of that size might create loping through the cosmos.
The GVSU newspaper, The Lanthorn, wrote a very nice article on the competition and my pieces. You can find it HERE.