A little-understood phenomenon of disparate images, ideas, and fantasies, dreams can last between a few second and thirty minutes, and largely occur in rapid succession during our sleep’s REM stage, or Rapid Eye Movement. During this period, brain activity is as high as if our body was awake, and it’s this strange, dichotomous relationship between sleeping and wakefulness that drives this group exhibition; dreams are so life-like, yet totally foreign. What do they mean, and how do they act as a foil for our everyday lives?
Dreams open us up to the reality beyond the limitations of space and time, form and substance. The reality where past, present and future experiences live in one moment of now. And it is there, within that limitless space, that we discover the vast oceans of creative possibility.
Eschewing a straight thematic narrative or chronology, Dreams groups works according to different stages of sleep:
is the beginning of the sleep cycle, and is a relatively light stage. It can be considered a transition period between wakefulness and sleep. For the artist, creativity is often stirred and is signaled through an increase in mental images of words and/or forms. Here, the conscious, rational mind is still the predominate operating system. Many artists keep a note pad and pen at their bedside to jot down fresh inspirations and technical insights from this stage.
This stage lasts for approximately 20 minutes during which time the brain begins to produce bursts of rapid rhythmic brain wave activity known as sleep spindles. Body temperature starts to decrease and heart rate begins to slow. The conscious mind begins to release thoughts more fluidly like boats floating on the current of a stream. The artist recognizes each thought as it floats by but the desire to expand or build upon the thought begins to dwindle. The transition from the rational mind into the universal mind is under way.
This stage, known as delta sleep, features the gradual onset of deep, slow brain waves known as delta waves. Here the artist is beginning to leave dormant the familiar creative processes of the conscious mind and begins to open up pathways to the subconscious and unconscious by way of dreams and intuition. These pathways engage the energies of the mind-body synergy. The eyes of the heart space now begin to open and the knowledge of objective reality, controlled by the ego, begins to give way to the non-ego experience of universal reality sometimes called the True Self experience.
Most dreaming occurs during this forth stage of sleep, known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements, increased respiration rate and increased brain activity. REM sleep is also referred to as paradoxical sleep, because while the brain and other body systems become more active, muscles simultaneously relax. At this stage the artist is now drawing upon the universal mind of which everything is a part. The True Self artist now swims through the deep and limitless waters of pure creative energy. This True Self moves in union with the eternal source of all that is and what is given and received is the indescribable, manifold gift of artistic inspiration that will be later midwifed into manifested form through whichever medium the artist chooses.
The Sequence of Sleep Stages
It’s important to realize, however, that sleep does not progress through these stages in sequence. Rather, it begins in stage 1 and progresses into stages 2,and 3. After stage 3, stage 2 is repeated before entering REM sleep.