Dissection of a Dream

Nicholas Maltagliati
Oct 20, 2014 7:02AM

It begins with a threading of the essence of compartmentalization within this abstract expression meets pop art mentality. Throughout the course of history, we exponentially accrete more and more information, responsibilities, ideas, and roles forced on us by our surrounding society.  We then become less focused on tasks needed to live a proper life as we constantly divide our attention. This overwhelming lifestyle can never revert back to a more simple time as we progress into a more complex collective of humans. This intricacy we create is basically one large collage of overlapping aspects of our inundating life, in which somehow we try to pursue the vague idea of happiness. It has become a state of a dream-like reality where we may be awake or we could be lucidly experiencing our life from afar. It’s a deluge of stress combined with the feigned contentment that somehow makes up, what we believe to be, the paradigm of the American Dream. A dream found prominent in the minds of Americans after the Second World War: a time where many artists found contradictory and amusing to critique on. As the media of television and film flourished so the prolific artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) and many of his contemporaries like Jasper Johns (1930-) and Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993). This is the height of the midcentury disillusionment shown by a prime example by Rauschenberg himself: Estate, 1963.  One of many Rauschenberg’s mixture of silkscreen and oil paint, it puts forth this exuberant feeling of complication and anxiousness. Another excellent instance is Jean Dubuffet’s Argument et context, 1977. It clearly exudes this compartmentalized state of mind that so many of us relate to. It slowly becomes more of this surreal wunderkammer-esque askew notion that life can’t always be the perfect dream.

In a sense, many of the pieces chosen have a curiosity-driven creative being that makes us wonder what would it be like to go back. Such digressing of the human kind can be both detrimental and sentimental. And yet, today, we live our lives with a full fledging spirit of compartmentalizing everything we can control. As we conform into what society wants us to be, we must be aware of our sectioning and dissecting of our reality and our awareness of what lies ahead.

Nicholas Maltagliati
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019