Dreams & Their Edges

Curated by John Seed

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David Burke

Marie Cameron

Jon Duff

Shannon Durst

Tara Estrada

Alexandra Evans

Kimberly Glass

Cassie Gnehm

Abbey Golden

Deborah Hamon

Annie Heisey

Phil Irish

Shabnam Jannesari

Michele Johnsen

Lindsay Johnson

Mark Lewis

Ellen Starr Lyon

Re McBride

Claire McConaughy

Marjorie Methven

Daphne Minkoff

Anna Mogilevsky

Keith Pfeiffer

Aaron Pickens

Vanessa Powers

Kimberly Rodey

Zoe Schweiger

Erika Lee Sears

Kristin Sjaarda

Ira Upin

Joshua Walters

Thomas Wharton

Emmanuelle Wilhelm

Sarah Williams

Ashley Williams

JUROR STATEMENT

Dreams and Their Edges

 

The story goes that when the Surrealist painter Salvador Dali was seeking dream imagery he would intentionally fall asleep holding a spoon over a tin plate. When the spoon fell he would wake up and attempt to paint whatever was in his mind at that precise moment. Known for his uncanny ability to transcribe his dreams onto canvas, one might say that Dali wasn’t just painting dreams, he was also painting their edges. In her book Liminal Dreaming: Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep, author Jennifer Dumpert writes: 

 

At the edges of consciousness, between waking and sleeping, there's a swirling, free associative state of mind that is the domain of liminal dreams.

 

Maybe it says something about the times we live in, but the anxious domain of liminal dreaming seems to be providing rich material for a number of artists. As I looked over the 473 Google Drive folders containing the submissions that were refined into this show I was struck by how much of the work had a dreamlike aura. 

 

When Dali was painting his remarkably strange and disturbing dream paintings, he was influenced by Sigmund Freud’s theories about the connections between dreams and the unconscious mind. These days Freud seems antiquated and Surrealism—once presented as a style that liberated the mind and its fantasies— has hardened into a canon. So when I say that the 35 contemporary works that I ultimately selected for this show “dreamlike,” I mean that in a very broad, post-Freudian sense. As weird as Dali was, I think artists much now are much more free and varied in their approaches. 

 

A friend of mine says that dreams are “the motor of your mind idling at the stop sign of sleep,” a sentiment that perfectly expresses the way that I see dreams. Dreaming, once a source of prophecies and spiritual visions, gives our minds a way to work through our experiences, endowing them with mutability and strangeness. In the studio, a blank canvas can be a space to dream—a little or a lot—in a way that lets just about anything filter through into a more enchanted and transient form. 

 

I detected this aura of dreamlike enchantment in many different subjects and approaches. For example, in Claire McConaughy’s Dream Sunset, otherworldly color and fluid brushwork exude the interiority of a dreamworld. Ellen Starr Lyon’s painting of her sleeping son, Metallica Tie Die, offers up a question: does his rumpled t-shirt hint at what he might be dreaming? And Thomas Wharton’s Night Music presents a cosmic dreamscape full of esoteric potential. Can an abstract painting be dreamlike? I say yes. Shannon Durst’s Two Moons, which struck me as almost abstract, is a kind of free-flowing tapestry of consciously and unconsciously generated forms. 

 

Some of the artists in this show may wonder: “What is my work doing here?” The answer is that even if your work isn’t overtly about dreaming it gave me a sense unconscious forces were activating its intensity. You don’t have to fall asleep with a spoon over a tin plate to open the door to your dreams. This show is called Dreams and Their Edges because so many of the artists involved seem to be working on the periphery of dream worlds. Art-making gives us all the chance to explore the alternate worlds and fantasies that our idling minds generate when we close our eyes and make our way towards the unconscious. 

*For optimal viewing, view on a desktop or laptop computer.

Mark Lewis
Scene Street (Street Fiction)
114x152
Mixed Media
Shannon Durst
Two Moons
13x24
Mixed Media
Aaron Pickens
Brbr Deng
20"x26"
Oil on Panel
Joshua Walters
Untitled
12"x12"
Oil on Panel
Annie Heisey
Unraveling
40"x40"
Oil on Panel
Marjorie Methven
A Day
Oil on board
50 x25
2015
Ira Upin
Facing In
18"x24"
Oil on Panel
Anna Mogilevsky
Ocean and Waves
30.75"X 38.75"
Acryla gouache on canvas and paper on board
Abbey Golden
Mah Jongg Memories (Missing Pieces)
36"x48"
Oil on Canvas
Kimberly Glass
Family
11"x15"
Acrylic on paper
Lindsay Johnson
Preserve and Protect
9"x9"
Mixed Media
Michele Johnsen
Wise Woman II
30"x40"
Acrylic on Canvas
Jon Duff
Ambiguous Prophecy
48"x48"
Acrylic on canvas
Vanessa Powers
Choice or Fate
31"x46"
Oil on Canvas
Kristin Sjaarda
Tulips & Pink Plastic
42” x 62”
digital archival inkjet photograph
Keith Pfeiffer
Bacchus
18"x24"
Oil on Panel
Shabnam Jannesari
The Garden Grew like a Garden
55"x67"
Oil on Canvas
Cassie Gnehm
Stone and Skin
24"x36"
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
Sarah Williams
McGowen Street
12"x16"
Oil on Board
Erika Lee Sears
I Spy
Oil
9"x12"
2020
Show More
Phil Irish
San Marco
20x24"
Oil on aluminum
Deborah Hamon
Pain & Glory
48x72"
Acrylic on Canvas
Marie Cameron
Modern Midden
64x64"
Oil
Emmanuelle Wilhelm
The Beach
100cm x100cm
Oil on Canvas
Tara Estrada
Mantis Prawn Stroll
15x16"
Collage on Paper
Thomas Wharton
Night Music
42x42"
Oil on Linen
Kimberly Rodey
Standpoint
20x24"
Oil on Canvas
Claire McConaughy
Dream Sunset
48x38"
Oil on Canvas
David Burke
Broken Home
40x40"
Acrylic ink on Panel
Zoe Schweiger
Fragmented Memories
14x16"
Digital Collage and Photography
Ashley Williams
Sentient
22x30"
oil on gessoed paper
Ellen Starr Lyon
Metallica Tie Dye
12x12
Oil on Panel
Alexandra Evans
After Turner's Calais Pier
14x18"
Oil on Linen
Daphne Minkoff
Broken
12x36"
collage, oil on canvas over board
Show More
Re McBride
Ridgewood Cemetery in Winter
14x11"
Oil on Canvas
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