Paintings 2024 > Until They Stopped Dreaming - (Three Elegies)

Until They Stopped Dreaming - Fallout Learns to Fly
Until They Stopped Dreaming - Fallout Learns to Fly
ink, acrylic, and tempera on paper
18" x 24"

Until They Stopped Dreaming
- The Narrows Widen (Jenny)
- Fallout Learns to Fall (Ed)
- Staying Above New York (John)

These paintings are about memory because they are the kind of reflection that is created by a form we call ‘elegy.’ The elegiac can be based on recalling what another has both brought to our lives with them and also what has now been removed as they are no longer among us. Some of what we might have shared with these individuals could have come from their work at realizing dreams, what we call aspirations when they become an active pursuit. Dreams are undeniably a part of the fabric of our lives as our consciousness continues to sort and reassemble our waking lives during our nights of sleep. Not just aspiration, but fears and trepidations make their way into that part of our sleep we call dreaming. So that the ‘merrily,’ merrily, merrily’ can sudden become a Niagara as the river of thought plunges into narrowing confusion.

A seemingly universal sensation in dreaming is that of falling, suddenly dropping as the earth is swept from beneath our feet. The accompanying helplessness usually is more long-lasting than the scenario’s sensation, and could serve as a humbling reminder of a variety of human conditions. Vulnerability and defenselessness share the sensation of the dreamers’ perilous drop into nothing. Likewise sickness and our eventual demise are the ramping up that is given a dire preview in the falling sensations of dreaming. And as we have been all too frequently reminded, these unasked for and unpleasant aspects of dreaming are part and parcel of our own arrival and departure, equally uncontrollable by any of us.

Thankfully, much of what occurs in our dream narratives reflect what we might hope for, but the possibilities that during our waking hours may be more daunting and difficult. Hopes and dreams are a familiar pair to most of us, and without the possibilities presented to us by goals that we fabricate, either dreaming or during our waking and planning hours, our lives might seem empty. I have always found Jim Harrison’s description of New York City as “the biggest clip joint in the world” to have a ring of reality to it that our 21c world should cringe at. Our commitment to the idea that “if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere” has all of the blind allegiance to capitalism that has been given permission to continue, wasting lives indiscriminately to satisfy its rapaciousness and hollowness. To be ‘above New York,’ having grown up in the Empire State, is to realize any dream that will rise above the unhealthy, pathetic claims various forms of success which have been given sway over our lives. So this last idea is an elegy to those traits of self-debasement that have been encouraged by the completely false prospect of fair, equitable, humane competition that we have instead been bowed beneath during our waking hours. So, a dream that soars ‘above New York’ is a refreshing sleep state that should carry over into our days in the world. We miss people who have touched our lives and hope that their time alive was not overly constricted but represented a path of realized dreams to pursue to whatever extent they were able.