Yesterday I posed a question on Facebook: What do Albrecht Durer, Thomas Rowlandson, Frans Masereel, and Art Spiegelman have in common? The answer: they all published works of sequential art, which are now on view in our latest exhibition, Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel.
If, as the popular saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, then pictures and words together form an even more powerful tool for communication, expression, and storytelling than either would alone.
The materials in this exhibition are from the Rare Book Collection and the Comic Art Collection. In each, artists and writers have used sequential art to construct narratives that are complex, subtle, sophisticated, and powerful. Rather than presenting an evolutionary history of visual storytelling, these selections allow us to situate woodcuts, engravings, comic strips, and graphic novels in a long tradition of word- and image-making, in order to consider the roles of image and narrative in our culture.
Beyond Words will be on view in the Ellis Library Colonnade May 3-31, 2013.