When poetry and angst meet

What happens when poetry, artistic talent and biographical angst meet in Prof. John Nickle’s fifth semester Illustration class? One example is Rebekie Bennington’s mind explosive self-portrait, suggestive of the “agony of sensual chisels,” “lilac shrieks” and the “scarlet bellowings” of E.E. Cummings’ poem “My mind is.” The poem ” says Bennington, “makes references to color and explores how art can be used as a vehicle for self-discovery, something I very much relate to.”
Self Portrait by Rebekie Bennington
“My Mind Is” self-portrait by Rebekie Bennington

For Nickle’s Materials and Techniques class assignment, students were to apply classical painting techniques to a contemporary treatment of a portrait using acrylic paint.

“I like the raw energy and rough texture of Rebekie’s mixed media self-portrait,” says Nickle. “It gets at the heart of the E.E. Cumming’s poem. Rebekie is an accomplished cartoonist and usually works in a very different, elegant but more detached style. This shows that she has artistic range.”

"Drug Bath" by Rebekie Bennington
“Drug Bath” by Rebekie Bennington
Bennington had previously been crafting what she calls “tight, reference-based paintings,” such at “Death Bath,” also a vibrantly colored acrylic. It’s message is very direct. “It is an exploration,” says Bennington, “into the dangerous self indulgence of drug addiction.” 

 Her self-portrait was a return to mixed media. “I began by gluing down torn paper and then attacking the canvas with acrylic paints and colored pencils. I found old sketches to incorporate into the piece,” she says.

 

my mind is
a big hunk of irrevocable nothing which touch and
taste and smell and hearing and sight keep hitting and
chipping with sharp fatal tools
in an agony of sensual chisels i perform squirms of
chrome and execute strides of cobalt
nevertheless i
feel that i cleverly am being altered that i slightly am
becoming something a little different, in fact
myself
Hereupon helpless i utter lilac shrieks and scarlet
bellowings.

—E. E. Cummings, from “Portraits, VII,” in “E. E. Cummings: The Complete Poems”

This entry was posted in Student Exhibit, student work and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 
You must be logged in to post a
video comment.