Poetry reading with Marsha Connell and Reba Connell, 2:30-3 pm.
Thinking About Bonnard, Murder of Crows oil painting series
The March Featured Artist, Marsha Connell, presents works that articulate an artistic evolution initiated in collage and leading to the “Murder of Crows” still-life oil paintings.
Connell had long been a painter and sculptor when her daughter, Reba, invited her to make a collage for shared communication while she was having her junior year abroad in Israel, a year that coincided with the first Gulf War.
The collages became an unexpected healing process, fueled deeper by a dream of war preparations that suggested she bear witness. The collage “letters without words” to her daughter grew into a series of 150 “Dream Vessels” that speak with a visual vocabulary, like Vanitas paintings, symbolically merging awareness of death and the passage of time with the beauty of life.
When words finally came, they emerged from the “dreaming in the day” dance practice of Authentic Movement. The resulting poems were often written in the presence of the collages and arose from a similar place of finding connections among discovered fragments. They accompany the Dream Vessels, but do not describe or explain them.
The arranging and rearranging of found images in collage-making, laid the groundwork for assembling and staging objects in the “Crow” series. “Spirit birds” and wings play a supporting role in the collages; birds star in the still-life series.
Thinking about Hokusai, Murder of Crows oil painting series
“Through this work, I found a way to bring hope together with darkness. Assembling these found images was like taking the broken pieces of the world and putting them back together.”
Both the collages and the crow paintings entice the viewer to look closer and follow a path of discovery. The paintings are also homages to other painters, such as Thinking of Bonnard and Thinking of Emily Carr. And there is humor, Connell confided, “The longer these crows were in my studio, the more trouble they got into!” evidenced by their activities and positions in the paintings.
Awakened in Art: Dream and art tell difficult political truths
Like surrealism, the political-art movement opposing totalitarianism in the aftermath of the horrors of WWI, the power of art and dreaming in these turbulent times holds the possibility for social change.
Last week, less than a month before the 2018 midterm elections, a cadre of Northern California artists shared their art and held a dialogue to raise awareness about U.S. domestic and foreign policies in the month-long mixed-media exhibition “Wake-Up! The Political Power of Art and Dreams,” held at the Claudia Chapline Gallery in Stinson Beach on Oct. 28, that now continues online.
Works in that show included Flag of Death, created by artist and gallery owner Claudia Chapline, which graphically depicts the reality of U.S. foreign policy. Chapline says the piece came from a dream she had on March 11, 2006, the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. “For me, the flag painting symbolises the discrepancy between American ideals and manifest American policy,” says Chapline.
Santa Rosa artist Marsha Connell’s “Dream Vessels” collage works, featuring landscapes spiked with light, were inspired by dreams Connell had a month after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. She dreamt that women writers, artists and poets were brought to observe preparations for the first Persian Gulf War when a voice boomed out, “The women soldiers will go first!”
“I felt a distress so profound there were no words for it,” Connell says.
A friend suggested the dream meant the artist was to bear witness, and the collages became her way to communicate and begin a healing process that ultimately brought her peace.
She calls the collages “Dream Vessels,” because each dreamlike picture contains a vessel. “The vessel offers the possibility of transformation, hope and reconciliation of opposites,” she says.
Joyce Lynn is founder and editor-in-chief of Plum Dreams Media. See works from ‘Wake-Up! The Political Power of Art and Dreams’ at plumdreamsmedia.com.
THE POLITICAL POWER OF ART AND DREAMS by Joyce Lynn, Exhibition Curator
For centuries, dreams have guided nations toward (or away from) their destinies. Dreams have revealed the divine plan for countries, cultures, and citizens. Think of Joseph’s biblical interpretation of the Pharaoh’s dream proscribing public policy to prevent the Egyptians from starvation. Or consider the Roman philosopher Cicero’s Dream of Scipio imparting the essence of statesmen-like virtues.
These dreams and dreamers show the profound power of remembering, understanding, listening to, and expressing our dreams. Our nighttime dreams upend government, corporate, and media propaganda. Once inner wisdom is tapped denial is impossible; positive action manifests.
Such timely, insightful sometimes witty wisdom gleaned from dreams and depicted by artists can lead to personal and planetary well-being. Dreams give a picture of reality. Dreams enable us to see clearly, revealing hidden truths. When we listen to our own dream guidance, we the people can reclaim our power to govern for the public good.
Like surrealism, the political-art movement opposing totalitarianism in the aftermath of the horrors of World War 1, the power of art and dreaming in these turbulent times holds the possibility of social change.
Art and dreams are conduits to truth, paths to healing and transformation. Art and dreams wake us to reality and response.”
“Wake-Up! The Political Power of Art and Dreams,” a mixed media exhibition, was an exhibition at the Claudia Chapline Gallery, Stinson Beach, California, during October, the month before the 2018 Congressional elections to create dialogue and raise consciousness about U.S domestic and foreign policy. It continues online to expand its reach at PlumDreamsMedia.com.
WAKE-UP! includes works derived from dreams by Northern California artists: Dream Vessels by MARSHA CONNELL; Flag of Death and other images of war by CLAUDIA CHAPLINE; works by artist-activist RICHARD KAMLER; FrankenBush, commissioned by PLUM DREAMS MEDIA; They Never Stood a Chance, an installation of remembrance and survival by JENNIFER LUGRIS; and a dream about Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal with God captured by NICOLE FRAZER.
WAKE-UP! is an activity of the 50 State Initiative of ForFreedoms.org, a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the U.S.
A percentage of sales from the exhibition will be donated to Bay Area peace candidates.
(While this online exhibition is being updated, contact Plum Dreams Media info@PlumDreamsMedia.com, 415-267-7620 for more information.)
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Claudia Chapline cchapline.com
On March 11, 2006, the third anniversary of the US invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, artist, activist, and gallery owner Claudia Chapline of Stinson Beach, California, dreamt:
“I’m standing on a ladder painting a large (American) flag. When I awoke the next day, I sketched the flag in my journal, and then I made a small painting from the drawing/dream. The stars resemble exploding bombs, the stripes, missiles. A skeleton’s head emerges from the war machinery.
“For me, the flag painting symbolizes the discrepancy between American ideals and manifest American policy.”
The Claudia Chapline Gallery and Sculpture Garden has shown Northern California contemporary art since 1987, a cultural crossroads for visitors to the Pacific coast and to residents of Northern California.
A month after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, artist Marsha Connell dreamt that women writers, artists, and poets were brought to observe preparations for the first Persian Gulf War from the bottom of a hill. A voice boomed out: The women soldiers will go first!!
This view that appeared in a dream began a healing process that ultimately brought her peace.
A friend suggested the dream meant the artist was to bear witness. Before this dream, Connell felt artists lacked power to elicit change. Then she wondered, “Could I create art about the war, but not beautify the destruction?”
Connell cut up magazines and photos, made two collages and duplicated them on a color copier to allow travel as letters to her daughter in Jerusalem for her junior year. This shortly became an aesthetic choice as she discovered how the printmaking process enhances the visual unity of the images, montaged from found sources. When she contemplated her images, she says, “They shocked me. They moved me so much. There was a lot of darkness but also hope. They had hope for the world.”
Collages, dark landscapes spiked with light, became her way to communicate. “I felt a distress so profound there were no words for it,” Connell says.
She calls the collages “Dream Vessels” because each dreamlike picture contains a vessel — a pot, a vase, a ship. In her poem, “Dream Vessels,” Connell writes: “The vessel offers the possibility of transformation, hope/reconciliation of opposites…Vessels poise/between her story and history, bridging nature and the human-made, bridging hope and forces of destruction.”
“Somehow, through doing this, I felt I was finding a way to bring hope together with darkness,” she reveals. “As the work told me its stories, it was bringing more sense to the world. The collages were my healing. Gradually, I found my own center again and my own peace through doing this.”
The Dream Vessels series took on its own momentum, now almost one hundred fifty images, printed in editions numbered up to twenty-five. Like intimately scaled murals, the collages incorporate stories about family, culture, history, and the environment, including the devastation of ongoing wars, oil spills, firestorms, the disasters of Three Mile Island and September Eleventh, as well as simple pleasures and life’s mysteries, dance, music, motherhood. They also function as homages and memorials.
The content emerged from dreams, and the process of creating them is like dreaming in the day, elusive and speaking in metaphor, gradually revealing layers of meaning to both artist and viewer.
ART NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - AUGUST 27, 2018
EXHIBITION: WAKE-UP! The Political Power of Art and Dreams
AT: Claudia Chapline Gallery, 3445 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970
DATES: October 6 – 28, 2018
ART EVENT: Reception: October 6, 2018, 2-4 P.M.
Like surrealism, the political-art movement opposing totalitarianism in the aftermath of the horrors of World War 1, the power of art and dreaming in these turbulent times holds the possibility of social change. Art and dreams, conduits to truth, are paths to healing and transformation. Art and dreams wake us to reality and response.
“Wake-Up! The Political Power of Art and Dreams,” an exhibition at the Claudia Chapline Gallery, Stinson Beach, California, October 6-October 28, is scheduled the month before the 2018 Congressional elections to create dialogue and raise consciousness about U.S domestic and foreign policy. An opening day reception will be held from 2-4 pm on Saturday, October 6.
At the reception; attendees can share/write/sketch their political dreams to inspire positive action. There will be a drawing for the exhibition’s commemorative poster.
This exhibition in the pop-up gallery will include works derived from dreams by Northern California artists: Dream Vessels by MARSHA CONNELL; Flag of Death and other images of war by CLAUDIA CHAPLINE; works by artist-activist RICHARD KAMLER; FrankenBush by ADAM HARMS; They Never Stood a Chance, an installation of remembrance and survival by JENNIFER LUGRIS; and Dream Veritas! From Tragedy to Transformation, a multimedia presentation of dream profiles by journalist and exhibition curator JOYCE LYNN, and more.
Several graphic pieces will capture dreams about Donald Trump.
Exhibition curator Joyce Lynn is a journalist, including eight years as a political reporter in Washington D.C. She has profiled political activists from student Nazi resistance fighter Sophie Scholl to peace “mom” Cindy Sheehan, whose dreams have illumined their way.
The exhibition is located in beautiful Stinson Beach, 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Artist/writer Claudia Chapline has received numerous honors and awards for her promotion of community arts. WAKE-UP! is an activity of the 50 State Initiative of ForFreedoms.org, a platform for civic engagement, discourse, and direct action for artists in the U.S. A percentage of sales from the exhibition will be donated to Bay Area peace candidates.
In the spirit of an offering, a gift to our community, about 130 Art Trails artists throughout Sonoma County, will open studios and hearts to the public, sharing beauty and hope. My studio, #24 on Art Trails map, 2180 Beverly Way, Santa Rosa, will be open both weekends, 10am – 5pm.
Just as music can be inspiring and soothing, light and dark, taking us on emotional journeys without words, seeing wonderful art can be uplifting, inspirational, moody and joyful, bringing comfort, solace, contemplation, refuge, and pleasure. I invite you to visit, and have a hug, share a story, tea and cookies, and travel through my plein air paintings to healing landscapes, places of memory, dreams and renewal.
Our hearts are breaking for those who have been devastated by fire. Several Art Trails artists have lost homes, studios and/or their entire art inventory. The Art Trails Artist Relief Fund has been established. Donations can be made directly at many Art Trails studios and exhibits, and on-line at www.SonomaCountyArtTrails.org or www.SebArts.org. Make checks payable to SCA, with a notation indicating Art Trails Artists Relief Fund; checks may also be mailed to Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High St., Sebastopol, CA 95472.
I will be donating a percentage of painting sales, and will also be offering my contemplative Dream Vessels collages and some hand held carved clay sculptures.
An updated list of artists and maps showing participating studios will be posted by the weekend on the www.SonomaCountyArtTrails.org home page. We encourage visitors to stay up to date on road conditions.
Thank you for supporting the arts!
Marsha Connell, Chair Art Trails Steering Committee
Marsha Connell, Life Before Her Eyes: Dream Vessels #117
A premonition of the first Gulf War in a dream, and my daughter in Jerusalem for her junior year abroad, impelled me to create the Dream Vessels collages. Begun in 1991, my “letters without words” have grown to an over twenty year series. I have made the collages as a healing practice. Sharing them, I hope to heal the world.
A collage often begins with a wisp of a dream image, and a collection of “found images” that dialogue with it. Through both intention and the unconscious, I follow relationships of content, feeling, color, and shape as they transform into an aspect of the dream or an unexpected scenario. Recurring themes include houses with rooms I have never before visited, danger from fire or water or heights, youth and old age, journeys. “Vanitas” symbols—the awareness of death within the sweetness of life—such as skulls, eggs, wings, timepieces, are touchstones, as I set sail on the sea of dreams.