How do artists & illustrators push beyond traditional narrative?

The Grand Vocabulary (exhibit)

In  Grand Vocabulary: American Contemporary Illustration, an exhibit at The Delaware Contemporary (through November 12, 2016), artists and illustrators “demonstrate the increasing freedom contemporary illustrators are given to push their craft.”

Illustrated Poems by JoAnn Balingit and Kris Chau

Illustrated Poems by JoAnn Balingit and Kris Chau

I am excited to have four of my poems wonderfully treated in paintings by artist Kris Chau — such gorgeous color and line! She worked for several years, I am told, as a designer for Free People/Urban Outfitters and these illustrations reflect her love of draping the human figure.  Here’s her illustration of my poem, Frac/tions.


She chose to illustrate “Complete Boy’s Armor” and “Here’s My List” from Words for House Story, as well as a newer poem, “Limón Homage,” a finalist for Rhino Poetry‘s 2016 Founder’s Prize.

I had not realized until I saw this painting how the boy in “Complete Boys’ Armor” is a warrior despite the poem’s yearning for peace if not pacifism. We live in a violent culture–still. I was remembering a visit with my son Adrian to The Philadelphia Museum of Art when he was little. The two of us stood in front of a boy’s suit of armor–a delicate miniature version, beautifully engraved and utterly serious suit for a child to go warring. The “mission” in Iraq had just begun then.

excerpt from "Complete Boy's Armor"

Red warriors! with excerpt from “Complete Boy’s Armor”

Twenty-four U.S. and international artists provide other stunning works — the gallery leaps with movement and color. My favorites are the videos by social activist and artist Molly Crabapple. Curator John Shipman, Executive Director of the DCCA, has also included local artists from University of Delaware and Delaware College of Art and Design, as well as community youth work from Mother African Union Church.

Grand Vocabulary is a vibrant and poignant and funny exhibit. Please support these artists, illustrators and graphic artists who are filmmakers by going to see it!

Grand Vocabulary: Contemporary American Illustration

from Auntie Yang's Great Soybean Picnic (2012) by Beth Lo

from Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic (2012) by Beth Lo (ceramic)

Molly Crabapple | "Broken Windows" (animation)

Molly Crabapple | “Broken Windows” (animation)

The Delaware Contemporary  

carole bieber & marc ham gallery,

August 5 – November 12

200 South Madison Street  Wilmington, DE  |  302-656-6466