The Art of Dreams


Dreams form one of the main pathways to the workings and special messages from the subconscious mind. Dream journals are one of the many ways to uncover the world that goes beyond our concrete reality and merges with a montage of ethereal symbols and realities to convey  new meaning in our daily lives.
Here are some very strange and unique artistic captures of this other world we fall through while in our sleep.
Jan Kirstein

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Half our dayes wee passe in the shadowe of the earth, and the brother of death exacteth a third part of our lives.

(Thomas Browne, On Dreams)

…night after night, with calm incuriousness we open the door into that ghostly underworld, and hold insane revels with fantastic spectres, weep burning tears for empty griefs, babble with foolish laughter at witless jests, stain our souls with useless crime, or fly with freezing blood from the grasp of an unnamed dread ; and, with the morning, saunter serenely back from these wild adventures into the warm precincts of the cheerful day, unmoved, unstartled, and forgetting.

(Elizabeth Bisland, Dreams and their Mysteries)

Dreams have long proved a fertile ground for human creativity and expression, and no less so than in the visual arts, giving rise to some of its most arresting images. In addition to the many and varied dreams so important to religion and myth there has emerged, in the last few centuries since the birth of Romanticism, an exploration of the more personal dream-world. Indeed, with its link to the unconscious, the form has perhaps proved the perfect vehicle for those artists looking to surface that which lies submerged – desire, guilt, fear, ambition – to bring to light the truth the waking mind keeps hid.

No doubt, also, artists have been attracted to the challenge of giving form to something so visually intangible as a dream, a challenge taken up in many ways through the centuries. More often than not there appears the sleeping body itself, with the dream element incorporated in a variety of ways. Common is for the dream sequence to appear in a totally separate part of the image, as if projected on the walls of the sleeping mind: often in the midst of that familiar floating cloud, but also as emerging from nearby objects or events of the day (see the Toyokuni image below) . Also common, particularly in the depiction of nightmares, is for the figures of the dream to simply appear as though in the room with the sleeper, often directly upon the body itself (see the Fuseli below). With the advent of photography, and the potential of double exposures, we see also a different way of trying to capture that intangibility of the dream image. With both the Grandville and Redon images featured, and the work of the Surrealists they anticipate, we see a different approach entirely, one which looks past the sleeper to focus solely on the imagery of the dream itself, and in the process perhaps giving a more true impression of the strangeness and otherworldliness which so often characterises the dream experience.

The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (1781). Perhaps Fuseli’s best known work, it has been copied by other artists, including many engravings such as this one by Thomas Burke – Source.
Dream-land (ca. 1883), an etching by S.J. Ferris after a painting by C.D. Weldon – Source.
El sueño del caballero, or The Knight’s Dream (ca. 1655), by Antonio de Pereda – Source.
The Jockey’s Dream (ca. 1880), published by Currier & Ives – Source.
A Nightmare (19th century), by E. Vavasseur – Source.
Nightmare (1810), by Jean Pierre Simon – Source: Wellcome Library.
Job’s Evil Dreams (1805), by William Blake, from a series of 19 watercolours illustrating the Book of Job that Blake painted in 1805-6 for Thomas Butts – Source.
A Child Dreams of the Passing of Time (17th century), by Boetius Adamsz Bolswert – Source.
The Soldiers Dream of Home (ca. 1861), by unknown artist – Source.
A Dream of Crime & Punishment (1847), by J.J. Grandville. Predating Dostoevsky’s book by some 20 years, it shows “the dream of an assassin overcome by remorse” – Source.
Dream Vision; A Nightmare (1525), by Albrecht Dürer: a watercolour and accompanying text describing an apocalyptic dream Dürer had on the night of 7-8th June 1525. The text readsIn 1525, during the night between Wednesday and Thursday after Whitsuntide, I had this vision in my sleep, and saw how many great waters fell from heaven. The first struck the ground about four miles away from me with such a terrible force, enormous noise and splashing that it drowned the entire countryside. I was so greatly shocked at this that I awoke before the cloudburst. And the ensuing downpour was huge. Some of the waters fell some distance away and some close by. And they came from such a height that they seemed to fall at an equally slow pace. But the very first water that hit the ground so suddenly had fallen at such velocity, and was accompanied by wind and roaring so frightening, that when I awoke my whole body trembled and I could not recover for a long time. When I arose in the morning, I painted the above as I had seen it. May the Lord turn all things to the best – Source.
Yume no ukihashi, or The Bridge of Dreams (1854), by Utagawa Toyokuni – Source.
The Artist’s Dream (1840), by George H. Comegys. The artist, with his head down on a table in his studio, perhaps seeking divine intervention, is having a vision of great artists from the past, such as: Sir Joshua Reynolds, Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael Michelangelo, and others – Source.
Legend of St Francis: Dream of the Palace (1297 – 1299), by Giotto – Source.
The Orangerie;—or—the Dutch Cupid Reposing After the Fatigues of Planting, depicting William V, Prince of Orange, as a fat, naked Cupid (1796), by James Gillray – Source.
Tatiana Larina’s dream (1891), by Ivan Volkov – Source.
The Orphan’s Dream (19th century), by James Elliott – Source.
Dreaming of Santa Claus (ca. 1897), by William H. Rau – Source.
A Verger’s Dream: Saints Cosmas and Damian Performing a Miraculous Cure by Transplantation of a Leg (ca. 1495), by Masterof Los Balbases, – Source: Wellcome Library.
Tako to ama, or The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (1814), an erotic ukiyo-e by Hokusai, from the book Kinoe no Komatsu (English: Young Pines), a three-volume book of shunga erotica first published in 1814. For an English translation of the rather racy text see the link to the source – Source.
Jacob’s Dream (late 16th century), by Adam Elsheimer – Source.
The Dream of King Nebuchadnezzar (10th century), Staatsbibliothek Bamberg, Msc. Bibl. 22, fol. 31v – Source.
The Dream of Pilate’s Wife (ca. 1879), by Gustave Doré. According to Matthew 27:19, While Pilate was sitting in the judgment hall, his wife sent him a message: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, because in a dream last night, I suffered much on account of him.” – Source.
‘Emperor Godaigo, dreaming of ghosts in his palace (1890), by Ogata Gekkō – Source.
Dream (1878 – 1882), by Odilon Redon – Source.
Little Nemo comic strip, by Winsor McCay (1906). This particular strip was from a European edition and never printed in the US – Source
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Collector’s Choice: Jason Twiggy Lott


 

http://www.jasontwiggylott.com

 

 

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Jason Twiggy Lott

 

Thoughts from Jason Twiggy Lott

 

I’m a native Mississippi artist and have been painting and crafting for as long as I can remember. My work references both the physical and the spiritual, decay and renewal, the external and internal worlds.
The creation process is a sort of spiritual exploration for me. I try to turn off myself, my brain, and my ego when I create. I try to create from a place of pure spirit. The less I think, the better I usually work.  When painting abstractly, dirty brush washing water is just as important as new paint. Every artist working with paints has the jar of water or turpentine that brushes go in and out of while painting. I like the idea of the ‘trash’ that would normally be washed down the drain being on the same level as the untainted paint straight from the tube. It’s sort of a metaphor for how I see the world. The ugly parts of life can always be recycled and reused to help build new ideas and experiences.

 

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Jason Twiggy Lott: Assemblage

The artworks I create are shrines, reliquaries, totems, altars, love letters, journals, and collections of memories. I both construct and reconstruct their history, purpose, and meaning. They are products of their environment, pieced together from the detritus of the South where I was born, reside, and work. They are rich, dark, and dirty like the history of my home. The South is steeped in a history of dark personalities and deeds. Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil so he could play a mean guitar. We’ve ridiculed, oppressed, enslaved, and murdered people because we don’t like their skin color. White Southerners decided it was a good idea to go to war pretty much because we didn’t feel like working our own land.

Jason Twiggy Lott: Assemblage

Our Archangel Elvis Presley died on his toilet a bloated, bejeweled drug addict, and our literary messiah, and arguably the greatest novelist in history, William Faulkner was by most accounts a rude, shut-in alcoholic. Yes, we have a sordid past colored with dark, tragic characters and bad behavior. But who doesn’t? Every nation, state, city, person has skeletons in their closet, but even today the South retains its spooky patina. We don’t progress at the same rate as the rest of our country. We move more slowly. Maybe it’s the heat. We haven’t fully covered our scars yet. We haven’t fully buried our skeletons. Our past remains relatively on the surface. Drive down any Mississippi back road and you’ll see it, feel it, and taste it.

We tend to embrace our rich, colorful, and sordid history. We seem to have an innate sense of how our past, even the nasty bits, makes us who we are today. The average, the dirty, the discarded and forgotten can all be elevated to god-like status. Lead can be turned into gold. It’s all about perspective and how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

Jason Twiggy Lott: Assemblage

So much of the trash I find and use was once very significant to someone, but they lost it, discarded it, or forgot it. Does that negate its significance? Do we as people become less special if we’re lost or discarded? Does our past define us? Are we innately significant and special beings or is our significance dependent on how we’re remembered once we’re gone?

Ultimately, my work speaks to our fundamental understanding of the human condition, as well as our lack thereof. What we leave behind can say as much about the present as it does about the past.

 

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Jason Twiggy Lott: Acrylic on canvas

These lyrical abstractions by Jason Twiggy Lott exude an ethereal world of emerging energy. His naturalistic colors embrace veils of delicate washes and subtly drawn form that gives an essence of something being born. His sense of form and movement present a sensibility that is refined, yet authentically spontaneous and direct.    Janis Kirstein

 

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Jason Twiggy Lott: Acrylic on Canvas

Curriculum Vitae

Represented by:

Selected Exhibitions

  • 2015     The Pulse Project, The Empty Spaces Project gallery, Putnam, CT
  • 2014     annual Cedars Juried Art Show, The Cedars, Jackson, MS
  • 2014     Museum After Hours dual show with Ginger Williams Cook,
    MS Museum of Art, Jackson, MS
  • 2014     dual show with Lauren Dunn, The Caron Gallery, Tupelo, MS
  • 2014     Art Lovers’ Soirée, Fischer Galleries, Jackson, MS
  • 2014     solo show, Young Harris College, Young Harris, GA
  • 2013     Hunter Underground, Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN
  • 2013     god:HEAD, The Divinity School at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • 2013     Artists by Artists, MS Museum of Art, Jackson, MS
  • 2012     Show of Devotion, Fischer Galleries, Jackson, MS
  • 2012     dual show with Sam Dunson, The Rymer Gallery, Nashville, TN
  • 2011     The Circus Show, Fischer Galleries, Jackson, MS
  • 2011     dual show with Charles Clary, The Rymer Gallery, Nashville, TN
  • 2010     Annual Nude & Figurative Show, Fischer Galleries, Jackson, MS
  • 2010     Small Works Show, Soren Christensen Gallery, New Orleans, LA
  • 2009     solo show, Nunnery’s Fine Art, Jackson, MS
  • 2007     The World of Moe Ffitsle collaborative show with artist William Goodman,
    Guthrie Contemporary, New Orleans, LA

Bibliography

2015     The Woven Tale Press, Vol. III #9,  online publication
2015     The Pulse of Mixed Media : Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed by Seth Apter

2014     Studio Jackson by Nell Knox

2012     The Tennessean, Nashville, TN

2011     Bluecanvas, issue 7

 

 

 

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Jason Twiggy Lott: Acrylic on canvas

“Many of my pieces include dried grasses and twigs that I adhere to the canvas during the painting process. I like the organic feel and texture they provide as well as the accidental possibilities they introduce into the process since I never really know how the paint is going to behave as it flows over and through the texture.”
“Perhaps more importantly to me though, the organic material is a literal manifestation of death and rebirth embedded into the piece itself. Not only has the material gone through the natural cycle of birth, death, and rebirth before I even collect it, but I am birthing it anew by incorporating it into the painting. As you’ve seen, the life cycle is central to almost all of my work. ” Jason Twiggy Lott
 

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