Now open at the Broad Street Gallery, Crestwick Island, is a new exhibition entitled Not Dark Yet. Bob Dylan fans may recognise this as the title of his 1997 single, the first released from his Time Out of Mind album.
This is no coincidence; Not Dark Yet is a collaborative exhibition of art inspired by Dylan’s lyrics. The idea came from the gallery’s curator, photographer (and Crestwick Island’s co-designer) Isa Messioptra. She invited artists Cipherscape, Doc, .kiki, Senna Coronet, Dantelicia Ethaniel, Harbor Galaxy, Edie Horngold, Amona Savira, Hillany Scofield, and Maloe Vansant to join her in presenting one image apiece interpreting lyrics from one of Dylan’s songs.
Each artist was given free choice on the song and lyrics to be used; the result is a small, but changed display of images based on one or more stanzas from the selected songs: Visions of Johanna, Boots of Spanish Leather, Hurricane, It Ain’t Me Babe, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, Emotionally Yours, Sarah, One Too Many Mornings, Desolation Row, Most of the Time, and the titular Not Dark Yet (by Doc).
I say “charged”, because taken individually, each piece is rich in content; there is an emotional strength to each of them which allows it to stand in its own right in whatever context in is framed. But when seen in the context of their inspiring lyrics, each piece gains a further depth of resonance that literally draws you into it.
In some, the impact is almost physical, as with Cipherscape’s rendition of lines from Hurricane or Isa’s Too Many Mornings; in others the effect is more subtle, as with Harbor Galaxy’s interpretation of Boots of Spanish Leather, which is so beautifully inspired it really takes time to appreciate just how subtle all the references are: the guitar, the boots, the facial features, the hairstyle…
To single out just two or three pieces from this exhibit isn’t really fair; all of them are really superb, and should be seen for themselves. Not Dark Yet will remain open until around mid-September; should any of the pictures on show really grab you, they are available for purchase. Also, when visiting, do please consider a small donation at the door to help with covering the costs of running both the gallery and Crestwick Island.