Interior Monologues

11 February - 21 March 2019

Interior Monologues is an exhibition and zine publication highlighting the work of 7 artists and 8 writers all working in response to artworks selected from the USW museum status, art collection. The exhibition will run for 6 weeks from Monday 11 February to Thursday 21 March 2019 with an opening event complete with readings of the newly commissioned writing to take place on Wednesday 20 February 2019, 6.00 – 8.00

The title of the exhibition is a play on words meaning both a person's inner voice and the personal truths revealed through choices of interior décor. Just as with the clothes we wear so much is revealed about our character through the way we decorate and furnish our homes indicative of social status, taste, anxieties and aspirations. As a literary device the Interior monologue creates a window into the mental processes of a character at the stage of precognition before the formation of coherent sequential speech. Modernist writers such as James Joyce and Virginia Wolfe used interior monologues to challenge literary form and to describe an unfolding partial viewpoint that immerses the reader in the psychology of the protagonists.

The project asks creative writers from the USW English department to contribute stream of consciousness writing to juxtapose with the images contained in the exhibition.

The contributors and connections between them are as follows:

Melanie Smith (writer) and Susan Akins (artist) respond to Split Frame, Crack and Warp Square by David Nash  

Maria Lalić, (writer) and Mererid Velios (artist) respond to The Parlour  by Tina Carr and Anne Marie Shone

Judith Goldsmith (writer) and Chris Hopkins (artist) respond to Interior no 3  by Ernest Zobole

Cathy Dreyer (writer) and Sharon Magill (artist) respond to The Last Rose by Joan Baker, Garden for Pleasure and Remembrance by Carol Hiles and Leather Chair with a Painting of Marion by Charles Burton  

Dale Hay (writer) and Nick Jenkins (artist) respond to Doll in the Doorway Anne Culverhouse Evans

Derwen Morfayel (writer) and Luz Erika Chick (artist) respond to photographs of Aberfan by I Chuck Rapoport’s

Colum Sanson Regan (writer) and Jessica Greenway (artist) respond to Red Beard, Mint by Richard Cox

Tony Curtis (writer) responds to Leather Chair with a Painting of Marion by Charles Burton  and Crack and Warp Column by David Nash

Interior Monologue: a term which refers to the written representation of internal thoughts. While a dramatic monologue (such as a Shakespearian soliloquy or Robert Browning’s poem ‘My Last Duchess’) is written to be, or as if, spoken aloud, an interior monologue is a representation of unspoken thoughts. It is in that sense a silent interior ‘voice’ which ‘speaks’ directly to the reader without the mediation of a narrator. It may include memories, emotions and sensory impressions. It may or may not follow the standard rules of grammar and punctuation. 

A closely related term is stream of consciousness which has two connected meanings. Firstly, in a psychological sense this refers to the continuous flow of thoughts, feelings and sense impressions in a person’s mind. Secondly, it refers to the literary style used to represent this ‘stream’ of consciousness. As a specific form of interior monologue, this usually dispenses with the normal rules of grammar, logic and coherence. The term ‘stream of consciousness’ was first used in a literary sense by May Sinclair in a 1918 review of Dorothy Richardson’s multi-volume novel Pilgrimage (1915-38). Sinclair borrowed the term from the philosopher William James in order to describe what she saw as a new method pioneered by Richardson, and other modernist writers: ‘In this series’, she wrote, ‘there is no drama, no situation, no set scene. Nothing happens. It is just life going on and on. It is Miriam Henderson’s stream of consciousness going on and on.’  Other famous examples of stream of consciousness writing include the final chapter of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), and passages in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925). A central problem for modernist writers was how to represent unconscious thought; that is, those desires, anxieties or memories which have been repressed and cannot therefore be articulated in language. Thus modernist writing often uses highly visual imagery and symbol to convey both sense impressions and unconscious thoughts. 

Diana Wallace

Enormous thanks behind the scenes are due to Barrie Llewellyn from Creative Writing and to the technicians for Art: Wayne Hunt, Nic Goff and Natalia Dias   

Chris Nurse