Date of Submission
Project Advisor 1
I Think You Were In My Dream Last Night
I have always worked by creating opportunities for mistakes and then fixing them. I’ve taken inspiration from the things I pick up every day: cups, necklaces, coat hangers, tables, chairs. I’ve taken inspiration from my dreams. They are always based in reality but twisted into a shape I’ve never seen before, and I wonder where these ideas come from. When I wake up, the people or the places I dreamt about are changed forever by a new perspective, out of my control. That is an idea I wanted to sift through as I delved into my project.
When the outbreak of COVID-19 hit Bard’s campus, I had finally come to a comfortable place with my ideas for the final show. I planned to make use of the found objects I collected as means to collaborate with the pieces I made for the installation of the work. Ceramic forms would have interacted with found objects which would have interacted with cloth forms which would have interacted with wooden infrastructure. A found steel enclosure would have acted as a cage to house another ceramic piece mounted on the wall. These plans were completely left behind when we had to abandon UBS, but suddenly new opportunities arose. Rather than fabricating a domestic space, I am trapped inside a real one, and each piece in the room must respond to its new environment. There are corners, colors, curtains, windows, floorboards—an entirely new circumstance without a sliver of a blank white wall. But rather than disrupting the intent, the space has taken up a purpose. It delivers its identity—a home—and within it the collection of pieces exist to abstract their environment like the landscape of a dream. There is a narrative cloaked in many layers and shown from many angles, not unlike the chronicle of COVID-19.
A smaller environment has led to smaller works. Sculptures have inspired drawings, and the three dimensional objects have evoked abstract images. I’ve been creating these paper pieces to respond to their domestic space. Just as the sculptures from UBS have been thrown into a new confined context, these drawings contend with their surroundings, and exist as site specific installations that correspond with the sculptural pieces as a means to abstract their living space. By fitting exactly onto a moulding or into a corner, these paper pieces turn their space into a formal element, just as the sculptural pieces redefine the domestic interior by virtue of their scale, form, and multitude. Even without the gallery setting, these pieces breathe life into their surroundings. That begs the question for all exhibition settings: how is the space changed by the forms that exist in it? Where does the power lie?
I don’t expect anyone other than me to advocate for my work in this show, but I want my work to speak for itself. So I’ll try to remember the basic facts: I made these things. I’ve been liking green a lot lately. All of these pieces are under one roof. There are more similarities than there are differences. Isolation took a lot away from me but it also left something behind. These pieces are not meant to be solitary. I never made a single piece of this collection intending for it to stand alone. They’re in the room when I sleep, at the table when I eat, and taking up every chair in the house. In a way these pieces were destined to be impounded together, and me with them, living like a guest in their house.
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Cotton, Josie, "I Think You Were In My Dream Last Night" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 354.
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