Paintings and poetry join together in harmony


Josh Meredith

The exhibit will run until Feb. 12 in the Pace Galleries.

Nancy Raen-Mendez said she credits Katie Waters for making The McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries what it is. 

The McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries is hosting its first exhibit of 2020. The event is “Life and Art: The Similar Sensibilities of Katie Waters and Matthew Graham” which opened on Jan. 30 and ends on Feb. 10. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. 

Waters is a retired art professor who taught painting and drawing classes at USI for over 30 years. Matthew Graham is Waters’ husband and also a retired professor. He taught English and poetry classes at USI and has published four books. 

Raen-Mendez, a professor of art, worked with Waters for 10 years. She said she thinks of Waters as a mentor and thought she was very thoughtful and organized. She said she believes the gallery wouldn’t be what it is today without Waters. 

“(Waters) ran the gallery, she basically single handedly created, it in a way,” Raen-Mendez said.  “She was there as a gallery director for 10 years and I think that’s an important part of our history.”

The gallery features 41 pieces of artwork from Waters and selected poems from Graham to accompany the paintings and drawings.

Josh Meredith
“Biological Clock” was made by Katie Waters, a retired professor of art.

Gallery director Brett Anderson’s assistant Livia Alexander explained that Waters is a well-known artist who has works scattered about. She brought the works that were most attainable and borrowed some of the works from the University of Evansville and Indiana State Museum. Waters worked to find poems from Graham that went with her artwork. 

“Because they don’t create works based on each other, it was difficult, but not impossible, to find poems that went with the paintings,” Alexander said. “I think that since they did have to hunt to find poems they are very genuine because the similarities are there.” 

Raen-Mendez considers the gallery as a glimpse into who Waters and Graham are as people and said it’s fascinating because there are common themes in the works of art and poems despite them working separately. 

“There’s a great set of paintings and a great set of poetry,” Raen-Mendez said “So, just on its own it could be two separate shows but put together it becomes something else. When you look at the paintings and read the poetry it really adds something, a bit of layers to the work.”