A dream of:
Into sleep we descend night after night - our bodies at rest as a part of us travels into the darkness of the altered state of consciousness that is sleep. Above, in the waking reality we play out our lives, acting out our respective stories in a physical universe we are apt at manipulating but nonetheless have very limited knowledge of.
In my body of work I have always explored, in one way or another, the domestic sphere, our immediate surroundings and in particular the bed, where we spend a large part of our lives. If our home is the interior to which we return everyday for respite from the outside world, sleeping and the dream realm are where we go to even deeper levels of ourselves. It is a kind of journey to our most intimate space, a descent into the storehouse of our memories, our hopes, fears and desires, and the accumulation of our ideas and beliefs.
In dreams, elements of reality come together to make constellations that would otherwise be unimaginable. We create new connections between things, space and time. There is a sense of experimental freedom, dominated by the surreal and paradoxical, a relief from the logic and reason that shape the waking hours.
This sense of impossible simultaneities finds its way onto my canvases, through a process of transformations that starts with a photograph of an unmade bed and ends up as an abstract painting.
Like the protagonist Toru Okada in Murakami’s ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’, who repeatedly descends into the darkness of a well to find clues to the mysterious events that are happening in his life, the paintings in ‘a dream of:’ make use of the disjointed quality so typical to our nocturnal journeys, to evoke the powerful and strange feeling a visceral dream can leave behind and linger as a presence, or a present, from the underbelly of life. It is the connection that we make when dreams enter the waking consciousness that I am interested in. Like a bridge or a tunnel it allows traffic and communication between ‘above’ and ‘below’.
There was a practice in ancient Greece called Incubation, whereby people who needed spiritual guidance or healing, would spend an extended period of time in a dark cave, or a light deprived chamber inside a temple. There they would lie without the stimulus of daylight on their retinas to make images and produce the colors which shape the world as we see it during our waking hours.
Sleep to most is no more than a necessity. However, maybe during those hours spent in this almost unconscious state, something is illuminated that cannot be seen in the brightness of the day.
© Liliane Tomasko, 2018