Connections: Exploring the Ties Between Poet Jim McCord and Painter Bruce McColl

September 6th – October 28th, 2012

Bruce McColl, Day Lilies, 2008, pastel on paper, 19 x 25 inches

What informs a work of art? How does a writer choose words for a poem? How does a painter choose color and form? Decisions are made because of time and place, and how the artist reacts to that context.

The chance meeting over ten years ago between poet Jim McCord and painter Bruce McColl at the Vermont Studio Center started a relationship that would influence both the form and content of their art. They spent hours discussing each other’s work and developed a life-long friendship.

Jim McCord had often looked at visual art to inspire his poetry, and he is an avid scholar of William Blake, who partook of both word and image in his practice. The paintings of McColl, however, drew McCord away from (re)-presenting aspects of nature to examining the intimacy of human interiors.

Bruce McColl, on the other hand, had never been directly influenced by a poem before reading the work of McCord, and he was especially inspired by Living in a Mason’s House. After noticing the basic elements of poetry, such as alliteration, Bruce became more conscious of emphasizing basic elements in his painting such as line and color. The pairing of poems by Jim McCord and paintings by Bruce McColl in this exhibition allows the viewer to examine the results of this relationship. Recitations of the poems by members of the Union College community can be accessed as one proceeds throughout the exhibition.

Jim McCord is Professor Emeritus of English at Union College and taught at Union College for 34 years.

Bruce McColl is Director of the Art Center at the Currier Museum of Art.

(Click reader’s name to listen)
Annette LeClair, reading Lyrical Ballads on Canvas

Seyfollah Maleki, reading Gardening

Jim McCord, reading Painting and Poetry

Media files

Listen to three recordings of faculty and staff reading the poetry of Jim McCord – click below in main body of text, under “Readings”

Opening Reception

September 13, 2012

6 – 7 PM

At the Nott Memorial

Jim McCord and Bruce McColl discuss their relationship in the creative process

Reading Night

September 27, 2012

7 PM

Nott Memorial

Students, faculty, and staff will read their poems in the Nott Memorial


Common Hour Poet’s Tour

October 18, 2012

1 – 2 PM

Nott Memorial

Jim McCord will tour the gallery and discuss his poetry in connection with the paintings of Bruce McColl