'DEEP NOTICING' on display at Luther College

Returning after a 40-year hiatus from art, Winneshiek County artist John K. Hall has a new exhibit, "DEEP NOTICING: Four Poems, Four Poets, Four Prints," on display on the third floor of Preus Library on the Luther College campus.

"Poetry and the visual arts are children of the same mother. Even though her children speak different tongues. The beauties of rhythm, pattern, color, texture, expression—even fury—are as much in the chromosomes of poetry as they are in painting, drawing or printmaking," Hall said in his artist statement.

The exhibit's title, "DEEP NOTICING," refers to a concept described by writer and scholar Dana Levin as the rare power of poets to see the genuine face of the world and describe it in a way that can transcend mere language. In creating prints that respond to poems, Hall hopes to imbue his works with the same sense of honesty and interconnectivity.

"Poetry… helps us gather and maintain a fuller understanding of our existence. Its Deep Noticing helps us recognize the allure and humanity of our world while cautioning us also to see its cruelty and absurdities. As in printmaking and other arts, poetry puts us in communication between one spirit and another," said Hall.

The exhibit contains four intaglio prints inspired by four poems from different authors. Intaglio is the printmaking technique where an image is incised into a surface, in this case a copper plate, and the incised area holds ink. Damp paper is placed on top of the surface so that when pressed, the damp paper is squeezed into the ink-filled grooves. It is the opposite of relief printing.

The four poems, by Tony Hoagland, William Butler Yeats, Charlotte Mary Mew and Iowa Poet Laureate Emeritus Marvin Bell, are mounted next to Hall's prints. "I think when viewers see these two art forms positioned side-by-side, they will be intrigued," said Hall.

Hall describes the Hoagland poem as a mournful, almost mystic reminiscence of blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday; where Mew's poem, "The Trees Are Down," addresses environmental loss in a spiritual context; and Bell's "White Clover" and Yeats' "Sailing to Byzantium" address the allure of human experience.

Hall began his academic career in art and art history and now returns to studying printmaking as a student of David Kamm, Luther assistant professor of art and art gallery coordinator. Kamm describes Hall's prints as "not illustrations, but rather nuanced and mature visual conversations with the poets and their work."

Hall left graduate studies at the University of Iowa's School of Art and Art History to pursue a career in journalism and, later, arts management.

He held positions at the University of Iowa, Dartmouth College and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis before re-entering the private sector. Hall retired in 2016 from corporate communications at Universal Trailer.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,400, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the bachelor of arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website:http://www.luther.edu.

A print made by John K. Hall