THE SELF (and other)

This work uses my dreams as a vehicle to explore the fugitive moments between states. I visually render the process of engaging with the unconscious, revealing the tension between self-exposure and self-concealment. I dream vividly and often, and have been recording my dreams for ten years. Dreams symbolize the unconscious and I am using them to represent the process of making the unconscious conscious. It’s the process of taking the unknown and making it known: The dreams reveal the self and in the same way the process of making the paintings reveals the dream. I am exploring the moments of recounting the dreams and the outcome of repetition on memory. The moments of time between states is when recounting happens. Similarly, a memory is a leftover of a happening. What is the dialogue between memory and dream, self and other, conscious and unconscious, known and unknown? This work is an exploration of those questions.

My intention is to provide windows into the universal experience of the “self” that we all share. On each of the paintings, the windows are represented as repeated frames to convey the fragments of memory, and the shards of the dream that can be recalled. The paintings are a physical as well as a metaphorical palimpsest, showing evidence of the layers and the fragments that constitute dreams and memory. They are created in layers through multiple applications of paint and text. The paintings are literal explorations of the murkiness of the unconscious. Each painting is divided into small frames (windows) containing hand-written text. These fragments are hidden in the paint and visibly rendered, although not always explicitly. In the paintings, the text is written and then erased, sometimes completely, underscoring the complex nature of revealing one’s self. The language created from these components is a collage of the assemblage of the unconscious, the same way that the dream fragments are a collage of memory.

Artwork by Rebecca Rich


Art Department