I was reading the Saturday morning newspapers; Michael Leunig’s article “Into the Unkown” in The Age; when halfway through his discussion about the creative process, I remembered my dream from the previous night.
In my dream I had seen a piece of art hanging on a wall. It was a moving image of an underwater scene with only the soft light-filled sea-green water and the head of a teenage girl who was looking out at the viewer and smiling with blonde hair adrift in the currents. And as I looked the girl came forward “out” of the scene. As she emerged from the flat wall image she became a white paper cut-out silhouette that protruded into the space of the room.
When I awoke and remembered the image I realised this artwork was a combination of the two exhibition themes that we have running in our art exhibitions this year; “from the deep” is on show now, and “off the wall” is our next exhibit.
So I paused from reading the newspaper, wrote down these remembered thoughts about the image in my dream, and then returned to reading the Michael Leunig article. “He gets an idea for a painting. The muse has paid a visit, the light has come on, inspiration has struck – whatever – and now the idea must be given form. The urge is powerful…” So I acknowledge that my idea is there. But I lack the confidence and impetus to act further and try to transform the idea into a painting/image/sculpture. I give up before I even begin. I know from past experiences that art ideas not given life grow stale quickly and lose their power; lost opportunities for creative expression.
Michael Leunig continues, “It looks competent enough but lacks the spark and mystique that was in his mind at the beginning. Something has been lost in the translation. How odd; it is not transcribing.” Yes I know this all too well. And this is where I give up. But Michael Leunig tells us to press on, to continue through the negativity, self-loathing, and feelings of failure. He says that in the abandonment of the ego, we will discover authenticity in our creative work.
The image in my dream reminded me of an exhibition of artwork that I had seen at Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart last year. In a darkened loft there were several life-sized still life works. The medium used was video, so these “still life” images were of a scene that moved, but repeated itself over a short time span. One was of a cocktail party where the guests were artfully placed and dressed and they were seated around a coffee table eating antipasto and drinking wine. It was strange to stand there like a voyeur staring at these people and then seeing the repetition of the loops in the video. There were others: one of a person driving; another looking through a doorway screened by dangling beads; and more I can’t remember.
I wish I could tell you who the artist was. I have searched online with no success. I have emailed the gallery in the hope they will tell me. Stay posted and I will tell you when I find out. In my online search though, I did find some amazing art works of video art by other artists, so it was not wasted time.