Over the course of the 2020 calendar year, I assisted the curatorial team for “Field Language: The Painting and Poetry of Warren and Jane Rohrer” at the Palmer Museum of Art, creating an digital companion for the exhibition. Instead of using a typical museum management software, I opted to use WordPress through Sites at Penn State, as it offers the user more control over layout and aesthetics, which were central to capturing the feel of viewing Warren Rohrer’s large, atmospheric paintings.
Collaborating with the curators, a videography team, and museum leadership, I identified four central themes of the exhibition and created not only corresponding webpages but also a mini-documentary series featuring poetry readings, close looks at the paintings, and interviews from art professionals and scholars about Warren Rohrer’s and Jane Rohrer’s work. To parallel the in-gallery experience, the digital companion features pairings of paintings and poems, highlighting the intertwined creative lives of their creators. Embedded audio files allow one to listen to the poems, including readings featuring the voice of the poet Jane Rohrer herself.
With lists of events and additional resources related to the exhibition, visitors can continue to learn about the artists and related themes, including Amish quilts and material culture, mark making, sustainability, and more.
Working on this project has made me very eager to learn more about and develop digital exhibitions, especially as museums and galleries try to find ways to garner interest in their collections and educate visitors virtually during COVID-19. A big thanks to Dr. Christopher Reed, Dr. Julia Spicher Kasdorf, and Dr. Joyce Robinson for their help and trust over the course of this project.
As mentioned above, I directed a mini-documentary series to be played in-gallery and online for the Field Language exhibition. Watch the videos in the sidebar, or watch via the link to the exhibition companion.