The Traverse Area District Library is pleased to welcome local artist Eileen Paul Millard and local poet Ann Bardens-McClellan to the Main (Woodmere) Branch for a special art reception and reading on Tuesday, February 5. The reception with begin at 6:30 p.m. in the McGuire Community Room with the reading beginning at 7 p.m. Millard's artwork will be on display at the library throughout the month of February.
Bardens-McClellan and Paul-Millard practice ekphrastic art, in which one medium of art relates to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form.
Bardens-McClellan and Paul Millard in their latest book, Journey to the Centre have created a conversation between artist and poet. Here the poems never merely extend the artwork and the artwork never illustrates the poems. Each is its own experience and when encountered in tandem a third artwork is created, one that merges two sensibilities, two visions.
Millard, a Flint native who lives in Frankfort, earned a Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan and Master's in Art Education from Eastern Michigan University. She taught art in Frankfort for many years before retiring in 2011.
As an artist she has experimented with water color, collage, drawing, paper making, and mixed media. Working from the inside out, many of her subjects often fell into a series exploring faces and figures, nature patterns, and organic geometries. Working from the outside in, her works have been powered by her studies in philosphy, spirituality, alchemy and religion.
Millard's collection of of vibrant abstract water colors on paper that she makes herself, will be on display in the McGuire Community Room at TADL's Main Branch and for sale during the month of February as the library's featured guest artist.
Bardens-McClellan came to poetry late in life, while raising five children. She taught writing classes at the University of Nebraska while earning her degrees. She’s proud of her many writing students who have gone on to successful writing careers, including Paula McLain, author of “The Paris Wife”.
As a teacher, she was able to write along with her students. By giving poetry readings, Bardens-McClellan found her audience. Since then she has been published widely and continues to give readings at almost every opportunity. She moved to Michigan in 1986 to teach writing at Central Michigan University. Since retiring from CMU, she relocated to Traverse City.
Bardens-McLellan and Millard met more than 20 years ago through a mutual friend who saw similarities in their work. They soon began giving performances where Bardens-McClellan would read her poetry and Millard would show slides of her artwork. Shortly after, they published their first book, Stone and Water. Together they also created a workshop series, Words and Color teaching at art centers and colleges.
Their second book, “Journey to the Centre”, is dedicated to their husbands, Tom McClellan and Ron Millard. It pairs Millard’s dramatic paintings with Bardens-McClellan’s provocative poems. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this special art and poetry event and view Millard's artwork throughout the month of February.