Pos­si­ble Dream The­ory #2

Art Almanac - - Art In Australia - Emma-Kate Wil­son

What hap­pens when art and dreams col­lide? Ga­lerie pom­pom di­rec­tor Ge­orge Adams has cu­rated the work of eight di­verse artists for ‘Pos­si­ble Dream The­ory #2’, which will see the seem­ingly ran­dom morph into a vivid dream­scape and prompt us to ques­tion re­al­ity and fic­tion. Sub­con­scious and the pre­con­scious are on the ta­ble re­veal­ing what dreams mean to dif­fer­ent artists while ex­am­in­ing the art can­nons they are cre­ated within. Study­ing the post-hu­man body or per­sonal am­bi­tion through the in­ti­mate gallery space, ‘Pos­si­ble Dream The­ory #2’ of­fers in­sight into the essence of hu­man­ness.

Our bod­ies are en­cour­aged to ex­plore de­sire, as well as lean into a dis­lo­cat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence where mul­ti­ple per­son­al­i­ties might oc­cupy the mind. How­ever, can dreams un­mask truth or en­lighten us?

Kenny Pit­tock’s fan­tasy of find­ing an aban­doned lot­tery ticket on the back of the shop­ping lists he col­lects in Syd­ney’s New­town has in­spired a sculp­ture of the mys­tic ticket, ques­tion­ing cer­tainty and the value at­trib­uted to found ob­jects. Ex­tend­ing into a con­tin­ued nar­ra­tive Pit­tock cre­ates space for dream­ing to fin­ish in a warped re­al­ity. This in­ter­pre­ta­tion, opens the other side of dreams, the as­pi­ra­tion side of dream the­ory, en­ter­ing a more philo­soph­i­cal ar­gu­ment, rather than psy­cho­log­i­cal.

The psy­cho­log­i­cal un­der­pin­ning of dreams that Freud and Jung ex­plored, in­spir­ing the Sur­re­al­ists from the 1930s, creeps into the magic work of Emily Par­sons-Lord. The soft, slow drip­ping of gal­lium – a ma­te­rial that in­vites the bizarre through its low melt­ing point of 30 de­grees, a metal that melts in your hand – ooz­ing out of the gallery wall. The pass­ing of time as an un­con­scious act plays out through Par­sons-Lord’s work, meta­mor­phos­ing dream­ing through an ob­ject. Like­wise, the sur­re­al­ist dream­scape is the cen­tre of Drew Con­nor Hol­land’s art; his re­cur­ring mo­tifs of cowboys and uni­corns nod to a dys­pho­ric fu­ture with ap­pro­pri­ated cul­tural nos­tal­gia and rep­re­sen­ta­tion of shared vir­tual space.

A provo­ca­tion to re­al­ity is found in works by Matthew Har­ris and Phil­james, faces and places are not what they seem and re­quire an­other glance. The clas­sic no­tions of night­mares, clowns and de­mons, play in the con­structed nar­ra­tive. Phili­james says his paint­ings ‘con­vey that eerie dream feel­ing of re­al­ity vs fan­tasy [that] you some­times wake up feel­ing.’ Har­ris

has also bridged this con­cep­tual see-saw be­tween tra­di­tional art and the con­tem­po­rary. For ex­am­ple, Manet’s Olympia (1863) has been re­con­sti­tuted into a male, black body. Olympia’s de­fi­ant hand cov­er­ing up her sex has been re­placed with Har­ris’ friend Michael’s erect pe­nis. The style is ren­dered in pri­mary colours leav­ing the art to be self-re­duc­ing. The two artists mir­ror sim­i­lar con­cepts in­vok­ing non­sen­si­cal dreams.

In this sense, the body has been warped into non­sense for Laura Moore, nova Milne, and Polly Bor­land’s twisted de­pic­tions. In one ver­sion, Moore blends the mis­shapen fig­ure into a trans­par­ent box, cre­at­ing a con­torted image of the hu­man physique. Form is re­vealed to be a con­struc­tion, an ex­ten­sion of self. Bor­land’s ad­di­tion of this is en­tirely dis­torted, squeezed into coloured tights, in post-hu­man pho­tographs that mys­tify the body. Bor­land has said she aims to recre­ate a ‘myth­i­cal dream­like state’ in her work; the pre­con­scious plays with the un­con­scious. nova Milne com­pletely dis­rupts the body, through col­lege with mag­a­zines, book cov­ers, fab­ric, and ink, amongst other el­e­ments. They say of the work, ‘we dis­cov­ered the sub­ject had su­per­nat­u­rally and po­et­i­cally re­turned her gaze in the dou­ble ex­po­sure, thereby clos­ing a loop.’ A dream state mind frame is en­tered through ma­nip­u­lat­ing the im­ages, ren­der­ing the au­di­ence to think about their own un­con­scious.

This jug­gling act of the mind, which plays out in our sleep, ren­ders these no­tions of pre­con­scious and un­con­scious in­nate. Artists are given free rein to en­ter the in­ner depths of the hu­man psy­che, and it plays into a stim­u­lat­ing dis­cus­sion; es­pe­cially as con­tem­po­rary art is dis­man­tled through modern themes. The body doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily ap­pear in each art­work in ‘Pos­si­ble Dream The­ory #2’, but the bod­ies are in the room con­sid­er­ing the con­cepts. The lend­ing ideas from posthu­man­ness fit within am­bi­tion and as­pi­ra­tion, as we de­lib­er­ate our ex­pe­ri­ences of dream­ing through con­structed fan­tasies. Emma-Kate Wil­son is a Bri­tish writer based in Syd­ney, who ex­am­ines con­tem­po­rary art in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

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