Bell and Ganassi


Laura Bell, a painter based in the Bronx, and Ian Ganassi, a poet in New Haven, met as artists in residence at the Millay Colony. In 2005, they began mailing between them the ongoing collaborative collage series “The Corpses” (the series title refers to the Surrealist game of Exquisite Corpse). The collaboration began with an unfinished poem and handwritten phrases on a piece of printer paper stained with coffee rings that Ganassi mailed to Bell. With each mailing, the works evolve, and new pieces are started. Both can call a piece finished; some go back and forth multiple times, and others make only one circuit. Politics, pop culture, religion, and literature make appearances. Gathering materials has become a consuming habit, combining found objects, text, drawings, ads, photos, fabrics, and mixed media—a painterly, visceral process, the anti-Photoshop. “The Corpses turned us into scavengers,” says Ganassi. “We ended up trying to get the whole world into them.” The series has evolved into a decade of personal and material call-and-response, with a new batch usually in progress or transit.



At Douglass College, Rutgers University, Laura studied with Fluxus artist Robert Watts, who gave her a deep appreciation for the spontaneous and serendipitous, and with clay sculptor Ka Kwong Hui, whose sense of the relationships of forms went far beyond the ceramic studio. She received a 2020 Bronx Recognizes Its Painting grant from the Bronx Council for the Arts. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Millay Colony and has participated in the Governors Island and numerous art fairs.  Her paintings and mixed-media work have been shown in New York, Provincetown, New Haven, Philadelphia, Berlin, Miami Beach, and elsewhere. She lives and works in New York.


Ian Ganassi has worked as a writer, teacher, and percussionist. His poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Home Planet News, Meniscus, Offcourse Literary, BlazeVOX, Clockwise Cat, Past Simple, Otoliths, The Yale Review, MadHat Annual, and New American Writing. His poem Blunt Trauma was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his translations from Virgil’s Aeneid have appeared in New England Review. His first poetry collection, Mean Numbers, was published by China Grove in 2016; his second poetry collection, True for the Moment, is forthcoming from WordTech Press in June. A third collection, By This Time, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2024. Ian is a long-time resident of New Haven, Connecticut.


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Categories: artists