Junior English major Samuel Binns will present a one-day exhibit titled “Larger than Life,” on Monday, Nov. 23, in the Stephens Gallery.
There will be a reception to meet the artist at 6 p.m. on Nov. 23, in the gallery, located in the Walton Fine Arts Center.
Binns said the one-day duration of the exhibit correlates to the exhibit’s theme of the ephemerality of life. The exhibit features daguerreotypes that accompany poems concerning life, death, time, and the meaning of existence.
“In correspondence to the 100th anniversary of the Spoon River Anthology by poet Edgar Lee Masters, ‘Larger than Life’ attempts to craft a counterbalance to the work using daguerreotypes of fellow mortals staring out at the camera and, simultaneously, the viewer looking back at them,” Binns said. “While Spoon River Anthology is historically and politically tendentious, I exchanged the particulars of time, place, and person for connection and universality. While Masters crafts epitaphic poems to sum up a lifetime on a gravestone, I evoke significant elements of humanity that reveal our connection.”
Binns said this exhibit is an opportunity for everyone to be an artist and poet.
“I welcome community contributions by inviting anyone to writing a letter, a poem, or even just a few words concerning humanity to evoke a celebration of the insistent awe and gratitude that each of us must emit in response to the immense and liberating gift of life,” Binns said. “Since the exhibit is a few days before Thanksgiving, I would like to invite everyone to write and post messages during the day in the gallery to convince yourself and others to love and give thanks, so that we may all remind each other how precious and valuable life is.”
“Reflecting upon the tragic events in Paris and other countries around the world recently, it is important for us to come together and respond to tragedy in a way that we may reconcile humanity. I hope to offer a collective means for reflecting and celebrating our lives while also celebrating the lives of those we have lost who remain in our hearts. Individual contributions to the exhibit build upon each other into a shared existence, communion, and purpose. Through this exhibit, I hope that we can send each other the message that not only can we suffer together, but we can also live together in harmony and bring joy to each other’s lives.”
Binns, from Hot Springs, Ark., and the university’s 2014 Project Poet champion, said he plans to exhibit “Larger than Life” again in January during his attendance at Maumau, a writer residency program in Istanbul, Turkey.
The title of the exhibit appears in the introductory poem, which is paired with one of the daguerreotypes.
A cavity in the dark chamber
Faces my face like
The mouth of a cave
Eager to echo.
The light listens,
And interviews the past,
Bearing presents of life
To the vestibule of ghosts.
I sit here before you,
Larger than life,
As you look into
The mirror of eternity.