Writers tell stories with words; artists tell stories with pictures; and together, words and images form a powerful tool for communication, expression, and narrative. From the block books of the Middle Ages to the graphic novels of today, this exhibition examines how pictures and words work together to construct narratives that are complex, subtle, sophisticated, and powerful.
Rather than presenting an evolutionary history of visual storytelling, the works selected for this exhibition allow us to situate woodcuts, engravings, comic strips, and graphic novels in a long tradition of word- and image-making, to consider the roles of image and narrative in our cultures, and to examine storytelling techniques in different media.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then pictures and words together form an even more powerful tool for communication, expression, and story-telling than either would alone. Stories tell us who we are and where we’ve been; they provide a shared fount of experience that shapes and defines culture.
The works in Beyond Words are from the Rare Book Collection and the Comic Art Collection in the Division of Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books at the University of Missouri Libraries.