GRAM is exhibiting ‘The Art of Wordless Storytelling’

National Poetry Week poster design 2001 by David Wiesner
David Wiesner (American, b. 1956), original design for National Poetry Week poster, 2001. Watercolor on paper, 21 x 14 inches. Courtesy GRAM

No words are needed for an exhibition at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

GRAM is showcasing pieces from award-winning author and illustrator David Wiesner in the “The Art of Wordless Storytelling” through Jan. 12.

The exhibition features over 70 original watercolors from Wiesner’s books, including Caldecott Medal winners “Tuesday” (1991), “The Three Pigs” (2001) and “Flotsam” (2006). The narratives in his books are told through images.

“Wiesner’s picture books often take years to complete and develop from a process of sketching, drawing, creating 3D models and finally, painting the richly layered watercolors that will be on view,” said Jennifer Wcisel, assistant curator, GRAM.

“The Art of Wordless Storytelling” also features sketches and notebooks revealing Wiesner’s “time-consuming creative process.”

“By removing the text, I am removing the author’s voice,” Wiesner said.

“This lets each reader tell the story in their own voice. It puts readers in the position of collaborating in the storytelling process, asking them to use their imagination along with mine.”

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