Artist of the Dreamtime
I conceive my endeavour as artist to be two-fold: First, to enter into the Creative Process and allow impulses, images, and gestures to come forth, then to capture them in a medium that can be experienced by others. Entering the Dreamtime, or engaging the Animatic Flow are other ways to speak about entering the Creative Process.
Second, to present these artistic productions or works in ways that viewers may engage them and bring forth a response. This aspect reveals more cogently the social and transformative dimension of Art.
In other words, as a visual artist, I experience a twofold pleasure:
The pure joy of creating an artefact or painting - which I name the primordial aesthetic. I experience this as a choreography of sorts, a pas de deux, between the originating Inspiration and one’s own Body of Expression — the way paint, brush or tool, and other media, are bodily engaged in response to the inner movement of vision, kinesthesia and subtle energy. Here technique may be improvised, discipline brought to bear, and the fire of inspiration stoked.
Then there is the joy of viewing the result — contemplating the production or painting itself. This second aesthetic completes the process of bringing dreamtime into real time. Engaging this aesthetic completes the integration and carries the ‘dream image’ or artistic piece into the context of one’s entire lived experience. It not mere judgement about the piece: This is good or this is bad. It is the discovery, the revelation of its significance now. Or, it may be what is being called forth into body and soul about how to live decently, with dignity, compassion and understanding for others and the Way of the World.
The Artist's Opening
Yet the delight of observing others engaged with works of art is equally exciting. For it is an opportunity to deepen ones own understanding through dialogue with others. To witness an interlogue between spectator and a work of art that engages at the level of soul or essence is an opportunity for the artist – and the spectator. Especially at openings.
While wandering among visitors to my “opening”, watching as the viewer engages with various art pieces, I am mindful that some new possibility may be aroused or compelling aesthetic revealed which could take her into deep reflection, or into her own act of creation. It is also an opportunity for dialogue and for nurturing the experience of the Dreamtime. Sensing the tenuousness of her reaction I take the opportunity for affirming her aesthetic response to the Animatic Flow activated through the painting. Our conversation deepens, as we share experiences and perceptions, and I let be the possibility for an intermingling of meaning. Together we allow this co-mingling to engender a mutual arising experience of the Dreamtime. Here and Now.
I am practising the art of relationship through dialogue, or trialogue – with the artwork as ‘the third’, its voice- and its listening - contained in its very presence as artefact of the Dreamtime. This possibility for communion is the culmination of my artistic endeavour. It is the consummation of the Work.
So, we are beings living in a multidimensional reality that includes consensual and non-consensual aspects, “real” time and dreamtime. Indeed, our very being is itself multidimensional. Yet our attention has been habituated to perceive only a world of separate “solid” bodies. This is the first attention, our usual awareness. When the artist enters the Dreamtime she is working across and within these various dimensions. Using her second attention the artist has become an interdimensional traveller. Here, landscapes intersect dreamscapes. Colour and form impute aspects of being and becoming. One is dwelling in the living palette.
The works exhibited here are offered as mementoes of my own interdimensional travels. They are artefacts of the dreamtime, like music boxes awaiting your kind intercession, or secret portals inviting transgression. I invite you to step into them, and through them take your own journey. There will be time for talk afterwards.
— Tim J Sullivan
revised June 2000