STrAY: Found Poems from a Lost Time is an in-situ project in which the contemporary artist Suzanne McClelland responds to Found Poems from a Lost Time (2006), twelve epistolary poems written by George Garrett (1929–2008), the renowned poet and esteemed professor of creative writing at U.Va. Garrett's poems, which describe the physical and psychological horrors of war, are constructed from passages lifted from letters written by two soldiers—both his distant relatives—who fought on opposite sides during the American Civil War. McClelland then created visual "portfolios" comprising drawings, printed matter, and photographs in which she lifted text from Garrett's work, as well as the shapes of the poems themselves. These materials are displayed in loose, layered configurations on a bulletin board-like form on the wall, a structure that provides an alternative method for reading and, in turn, for interpretation. Together with videos and works on paper—several of which were created in Charlottesville for this exhibition—these portfolios create a visually compelling installation that inspires fresh consideration of the role of language, perception, conflict, and both one's own history and history more broadly considered.
STrAY also includes a diverse group of works drawn from The Fralin collection by artists such as Käthe Kollwitz, Francisco de Goya, Larry Clark, and Sally Mann. These pieces, all selected by McClelland, will be in dialogue with her art and will provide a unique opportunity for visitors to simultaneously engage pieces from the collection in a new context while also studying the work of this important artist.
Based in New York City, McClelland has exhibited internationally since the early 1990s. She has produced paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and videos, in each case experimenting with the process and possibilities of each medium. Her art is featured in numerous public and private collections and she has received several grants and awards from prominent organizations and foundations.