Dreams: 2D/3D -
An Upcoming Exhibition
If you haven't visited Providence,
Rhode Island and its vibrant art scene, I highly recommend it. One of the key
players in making art an important part of the Providence landscape is the owner
of Gallery Z (www.galleryzprov.com). His gallery is "the granddaddy of Federal
Hill art galleries" and "one of the busiest, thanks to both its energetic
owner, Berge Ara Zobian, and to an ever-changing array of exhibits featuring works
by local, national and even international artists" (The Providence Journal,
I have enjoyed having my work in Gallery Z since 2005, when
I answered an ad in ArtNews for an upcoming small works show, and he accepted
three of my paintings.
On April 3rd, 2009, I received a phone call from
Berge. Our conversation left me jumping up and down with excitement, because he
had invited me to be the other half of a summer 2010 duo exhibit with Julian Penrose,
a sculptor who creates thoughtful and beautifully designed assemblages.
2010 may have seemed far way at the time, but experience has taught me that "far
away" has its way of shrinking fast, so I put the notes from our conversation
into a folder. Every time I thought of something---a question, a theme idea, anything
at all, I jotted it down. It helped to prepare me for the inevitable decision-making
and future meetings necessary to bring an exhibition to life.
to solid planning stage, which was a mid-January meeting in Providence with Berge
and Julian. I brought a CDROM of about 30 paintings I thought appropriate, as
well as some of my latest work. The meeting was lively and productive. We firmed
up dates for the exhibit (July 7 - August 28), reception dates, and WOW! a duo
poetry reading/artist's talk on Saturday, August 7th!
It felt great to
be treated so professionally. Thank you, Berge and Julian.
possible titles; Julian and I agreed to collaborate on one that would compliment
both of our styles. We did that and agreed upon Dreams - 2D/3D.
step is a challenge: writing an exhibition statement for Dreams - 2D/3D. How does
the title fit this work? Why "dreams"? How can dreams have dimension
(2D/3D)? What words will engage and tantalize people who come into the gallery
and/or visit the web site?
Random Thoughts and Research
down with books and paper and began to make connections between the title and
the work. This is what I wrote: The word dream conjures up multiple meanings
and seems appropriate to describe artwork in this exhibition. Dreams are close
to imagination, that ability to create thoughts and images we think are unlike
any previously known to others. Dream images are created in an unconscious state;
art is created in an imaginative state while awake.
Dreams in 2D and 3D!
What a leap (or act of faith in the artistic process) to say that something as
ethereal as a dream can have dimension. It seems to contradict a dream's essence,
that is, it has no essence. Dreams are frail in the face of reality.
of us have experienced dreams while sleeping and forget them soon after waking.
What can dreams mean to an artist and poet? Lots of ink has been spent on teasing
out the possibilities. Rather than describing myself as a surrealist, I admit
to being a person with the spigots of imagination wide open. The traditions of
surrealism have given me a set of concepts to work with, the ability to accept
fiercely different juxtapositions, permission to take an image, either painted
or written, as far as it will go. I know about surrealism and apply its principles,
but I do not think about it. In fact, my mantra while painting and drafting, is
paint (or write) and don't think, which was Paul Cezanne's advice.
of surrealism from The Yale Dictionary of Art and Artists - "Breton
overcame his fellow-writers' reluctance to accept the possibility that art could
He also asserted the centrality of automatism as giving access
to imagery, and this led to giving renewed priority to marks and signs and to
the use of found or random textures
Detailed accounts of real or invented
tie art back to the 19th century naturalism
" (page 673).
- a series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person's mind during
Do the colors and textures in Julian's assemblages and in my
paintings represent dreams? They are disparate shapes, sizes, lines, textures
that did not exist before they were assembled by us. We draw from old lives to
create new ones.
How can a viewer connect to a piece that sprang out of
someone else's imagination? We share a language of shapes, forms, lines, colors
and textures. We offer our work and hope for a transaction between the viewer
and the art object.
Next, I tried making a list.
no substance (art does)
are individual inventions (art is)
seem rooted in emotional, rather than intellectual, response (some
seem real, but are not (art is real)
are a perceived experience
(art is and isn't)
are not all that interesting to some (art, too)
confusing (art can be)
are clear (art can be)
are frightening (art can
happen in the mind (where response to art resides)
happen in sleep
(art is accessed while awake)
I looked at Sigmund Freud's take on dreams.
He thought of them as "day residue" often instigated by the preceding
day's events. He insisted that both poetry and dreaming are nothing more than
"defensive measures designed to substitute pleasure for reality" [Art
& Dreams - Answers.com/Reference Answers]. That could also be an answer to
the age-old question: What is art?
I read poetry with dream references.
This stanza from Edgar Allen Poe's "To One in Paradise" caught my eye:
And all my days are trances,/And all my nightly dreams/Are where thy grey eye
glances, /And where thy footstep gleams-/In what ethereal dances,/By what eternal
In the next few weeks, I will struggle to write a clear statement.
At this early drafting and messy thinking stage, it is important to hold back
the editor and search for the meaning of Dreams - 2D/3D. Wish me luck.