Read Me a Painting: Rutgers–Camden Exhibit Showcases Visual and Verbal Links

Read Me a Painting: Rutgers–Camden Exhibit Showcases Visual and Verbal Links

CAMDEN – Narrative and metaphor aren’t just for the page; literary devices also take shape on canvas.

Beginning Jan. 18, through Feb. 26, the Rutgers–Camden Stedman Gallery will present “ARTiculate: Links Between Visual and Verbal Expression,” featuring selections from the Rutgers–Camden Collection of Art. Featured artists include Lee Bontecou; Sylvia Sue Buck; Louise Kruger; Glenn Ligon; Kenji Nakahashi; Larry Rivers; Bruce Thayer; and more.

According to Noreen Scott Garrity, associate director and curator of education at the Rutgers–Camden Center for the Arts, both visual and verbal artists convey complex messages through similar modes of communication.

“Works of visual art are often described as ‘poetic’ or ‘narrative,’ and the language of visual forms incorporate many techniques parallel to those used in the literary arts. A comparison of visual and literary art forms can provide us with a fresh understanding of each,” offers Scott Garrity.

Glenn Ligon
Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I Feel Most Colored...)

In addition, the exhibit will complement southern New Jersey’s premier Big Read celebration of Zora Neale Hurston’s book Their Eyes Were Watching God.

“We consider this exhibition part of The Big Read slate of programs because it celebrates the literary arts through the visual arts,” adds Scott Garrity. Perhaps most fitting, a piece featured in the exhibit by artist Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I Feel Most Colored…), is comprised of text from a Hurston essay. This same piece of visual art, part of the Rutgers–Camden collection,  will also travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City to be part of a major retrospective of Ligon’s work.

The kick-off event for The Big Read at Rutgers–Camden will take place in the Stedman Gallery on Wednesday, Feb. 2, when a literary tea is brewed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring live jazz, loud hats, and the distribution of hundreds of copies of Hurston’s classic.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest. Designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens, The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment.

The Stedman Gallery is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. 

The Stedman Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Complex on Third Street, between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Rutgers–Camden Campus.

To take part in The Big Read, contact Scott Garrity at (856) 225-6306 or



Media Contact: Cathy K. Donovan
(856) 225-6627