The art of the novel: where crayfish sing comes to life at the Niza Knoll gallery
Members of most book clubs are known to sit around a suburban living room, drink boxed wine, and eat things on crackers while disclosing how a book reminded them of their own experiences. But other clubs go even further in involvement, challenging members to examine an existing work with their own creativity and bring something more tangible to the conversation. Denver gallery owner and artist Niza Knoll is one of them.
Knoll’s Book Club performs novels through the visual arts in various mediums, which she then exhibits in her gallery. “We all met in ceramics class at the Art Students League,” she says. “I had the idea [of a gallery show], and everyone was very excited. Since we were all artists, I thought that would be great.
Niza Knoll Gallery presents works of art inspired by Delia Owens’ novel Where the crayfish sing on a show that premieres today, with an opening reception on Friday, December 10. The book club’s first foray into a novel-turned-exhibit was back in 2019, with an exhibit focused on Amor Towles’ novel A gentleman in Moscow. The show was a success, causing Knoll to return to the idea after the pandemic.
“We’ve hosted a lot of book clubs,” she says, “and I thought it would be fun to start over. We had to choose a visually interesting book. The group got together and discussed several options before settling on the “heartbreaking but beautiful” Where the crayfish sing, which members had already read.
“It happened very quickly and seemed to jump out to everyone like an interesting thing to do,” Knoll says. “It sounded like fun. Everyone liked the book and thought they could come up with some pictures they could pursue.
Knoll’s Book Club isn’t alone in admiring Owens’ novel, which takes place on the North Carolina coast and invites the reader to wade through the swamps of lush and possibly dangerous scenery. . The bestseller is a coming-of-age story – heartbreaking in detail about protagonist Kya, who is abandoned in stages by her family and left to fend for herself. Knoll says the exhibit is meant to invite viewers to “delve into the narrative through paintings, ceramics and delightful papier-mâché creatures prominently placed in the gallery.
“Everyone imagines something while reading a book,” continues Knoll. “We all have our own visual imaginations. I think everyone enjoys sharing their own unique perspective, sharing what they see in a book, which might not even be what the author was thinking. It’s a fascinating thing.
Where the crayfish sing, Thursday December 9 to Saturday January 22, Niza Knoll Gallery, 915 Santa Fe Drive. Vernissage on Friday, December 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.