Written by Tori Smith, Public Relations and Social Media intern  

 Ekphrasis is defined as a verbal representation of a real or fictitious text composed in a non-verbal sign system. Defined more simply, ekphrasis is the fusion of art and story. Here at DOMA, we think you should take your visit to the next level by engaging in ekphrasis during your next visit. Below is an exercise to complete with the piece, Right Bird Left by Lee Krasner.  

The answers below are the writer’s opinions – but there is no right or wrong answer when completing ekphrasis! 

  1. Stare at the painting for five minutes. No distractions. You can write down keywords, sentences or just doodle. What do you notice? Eyes, it feels like the colors are popping out at me, signature is barely seen, brush strokes remind me of feathers, too big not to notice, feels strong, I keep getting strong, vulnerable to show her views in that way, indefinable, orange, pink, and evergreen looks like flowers that are about to bud.       
  2. Out of your description or doodles, pick out three keywords, feelings or illustrations that kept popping up for you.  Indefinable, strong, vulnerable  
  3. What song comes to mind when you think of the three keywords or illustrations you wrote down?  The song that comes up for me has been a recent favorite: Real Girl by Mutya Buena.  
  4. Now, explore what music options DOMA provides by scanning the QR code next to the painting. Do you feel like your song better suits the painting, or does DOMA’s?  For me, the Flutings of Paula by Leon Kirchner is too elegant for the strong and rough brushstrokes that are present on the painting. In my opinion, the second movement, Allegro con brio of Dimtri Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67 is much more suited with the nature and feeling that the painting gives me. 
  5. What lesson can you take away from this painting and this activity today?  When I was looking at the painting, I crossed my eyes to see if it would look any different. All the white strokes around the busy canvas suddenly looked very definable. Maybe, when you step back and look at your life to focus, everything works in harmony.  

Below is an interactive infographic where you can find tips on completing the ekphrasis exercise. Click on the link to access the file. 

Interested in learning more about ekphrasis? Read a past feature here

As always, thank you for reading the DOMA Insider! DOMA is free and open to the public; we are open Tuesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Check out our website at https://www.bsu.edu/doma