The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday December 6th

Couple at Sonja Haynes Stone Center uses art, poetry to evoke ritual, rebirth

Ritual + Time Travel = Rebirth: Images and Words by Michael Platt and Carol Beane will be shown at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center’s Robert and Sallie Brown Gallery and Museum from January 29 through May 11.
Buy Photos Ritual + Time Travel = Rebirth: Images and Words by Michael Platt and Carol Beane will be shown at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center’s Robert and Sallie Brown Gallery and Museum from January 29 through May 11.

Tonight is the opening night of the “Ritual + Time Travel = Rebirth” exhibit, which will feature and combine artwork by Michael Platt and poems by his wife, Carol Beane.

Joseph Jordan, the director of the Stone Center and curator of this exhibition, said he sought out Platt and Beane because of their works’ focus on ritual and the way that rituals are present, particularly in African-American and diaspora communities.

He said the exhibit will give viewers a different way of looking at some of the everyday things they do in life.

“Activities are repeated over and over, and as they do that, they begin to have meaning, and once they have meaning, they can contribute to a rebirth — a rebirth of a spirit, rebirth of a people, rebirth of a place,” Jordan said.

Beane and Platt have a unique way of working together in that they don’t attempt to illustrate each other’s works when creating poetry or artwork to accompany the other’s piece.

“We usually don’t consult and don’t try and work on one piece together at the same time,” Beane said.

“He’ll do the image, and I’ll do the poem, and we’ll maybe go off and come back maybe a couple of times until it feels right for both of us.”

Platt said he would present an image to Beane, who would search for a poem that could accompany the piece nicely. Beane does the same by presenting Platt with a set of words.

“We try not to plan it, but sometimes we do,” Platt said. “Sometimes there’s a little bit of cheating that goes on.”

Because of this style of creation, Beane hopes people read her words and think about them and respond to them almost independently of the artwork next to them. Beane said she thinks this makes both elements of the work even stronger.

“There’s a certain dislocation that goes on when it’s not the type of image you’d expect,” she said. “It creates a kind of space, a very provocative space.”

Platt said he doesn’t do a lot of planning or sketching of his images before he creates them on the computer; rather, they usually just come to him late at night, which is when he gets most of his work done.

He said he hopes that viewers will be visually and mentally inspired by the exhibit.

“It’s like a bus ride or a train ride,” Platt said. “You see things that excite you, and you don’t really have time to get off the bus or train and investigate, but you remember the scene and it visually excites you.

“You might understand what’s happening, you might not.”

arts@dailytarheel.com



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