A Cartography of Dreams, Dimbola Lodge, 2016
“Dreams are true while they last. And do we not live in dreams?” Alfred Lord Tennyson
In this exhibition, four photographers set out to answer this question posed by Alfred Lord Tennyson some 150 years ago. Their artistic exploration maps the contours of their dreams and imaginations—much like cartographers outlining the shorelines and mountains of a new continent. For what are dreams, but a map to move us forward on a quest for understanding?
And on this journey to awareness, one artist beckons with gesture and symbol to a quiet blue world, on a search for meaning and purpose in an unknown future. While another’s attraction to the strange and bizarre, melded with a dose of reality, creates an incongruence that implores us to look again and again. A third artist uses colour as an emotional springboard, moving us through visual dreamscapes that merge magic realism with surrealism, considering complex relationships along the way. And a fourth artist looks through a lens of hope and possibility, longing to see the unseeable and to know the unknowable. A quartet of dreamers and explorers they are, taking us along for the ride.
Julia Margaret Cameron, in her timeless and moving work, sought to ennoble photography by combining the real and the Ideal. It is the hope of these four photographers to honour her legacy by creating art that encourages viewers to embark on their own expeditions, map their own dreams, and perhaps alter their directions as a result.
This exhibition features thirty one works by four international photographers: Fran Forman, Jonah Calinawan, Paul Biddle and Tami Bone. The exhibition was produced and curated by the artists, in association with Maxine Watts, Reclaim Photography Festival and Dr Rachel Tait, Dimbola Museum and Galleries.
Jonah Calinawan ‘Shouldering Sky’
The images shown in this exhibition are part of an ongoing series entitled, A Million Suns. It is a story of one man’s search for his future. His high-pressure existence comes crashing down one day when he encounters a fissure in the ground. This discovery triggers a chain of events that will send him to the ends of the earth and force him to face what his life may or may not be.
In this story that fuses autobiography and fiction, I search for meaning and purpose in the face of an unknown future. In the beginning, we looked up at the stars to divine the future. How do we find this future now? Will there be a sign or a signal?
Using images that are collaged, montaged, erased, and drawn on, I portray my belief in the unlimited variations of the future. Collage is like creating the future—we combine experiences and circumstances and move them around to see what fits and what makes sense. At any point, we may choose to go left or right, turn back or move forward. Each choice alters the trajectory and overall shape of our lives. There is a great mystery here: we are on a journey where there is no map—it is pieced together as we go along. Thus, we become the traveler and cartographer, the origin and the destination.
For this one man’s quest, his life is about to veer off its projected course, into the blue world of a million suns.
Jonah Calinawan (JO-nah ca-lee-NA-wan) is a photographic artist from the seaport city of Baltimore. People who make meaning out of their divided lives inspire him, and he is following their lead. Jonah is an accountant turned artist. He is still figuring out what this means. It all started when he bought his first camera in 2002 and started self-learning photography. In 2008, he attended a photography workshop where the instructor suggested he pursue an MFA degree. His first question was, “What’s an MFA?” After two years of contemplation, he took the plunge and enrolled at the Academy of Art University.
Jonah completed his MFA in 2014 (while working as an accountant full-time). He exhibits his work nationally and internationally, and he is continually amazed at the unintended path that he embarked on. This divided life has changed the trajectory and shape of his life. He metaphorically explores this journey in A Million Suns, an ongoing photographic series that tells the story of one man’s search for his future. See more of Jonah’s work at www.amillionsuns.com.
Tami Bone ‘Imaginary Friends’
The Mythos series is inspired by my childhood in deep South Texas, and one that held more than the usual share of mystery. My mind, always busy with imaginings, was also trying to see past the veil of obscurity that was my normal.
Not knowing the people I came from, or how I came to be where I was, led to a heightened sense of wonder. This wonder imbued most everything; as long as I can remember, it has been entwined with a sense of hope and possibility.
Mythos developed from these early queries, of trying to see the unseeable and to know the unknowable – longings that we all share in some way or another. And while my work is my own tale of wonder, it is a token of the shared mystery that binds us together.
Tami Bone grew up in deep South Texas where she spent a childhood oftentimes free and driven by her imagination. Her photographic work today pulls from impressions made during these early beginnings that make their way into her narrative images.
Today Tami lives in Round Top, Texas and engages photography as a means of story telling and self-expression, with a knowing that the stories we tell form our personal truths and unique folklore. She believes that our stories, both true and imagined, are significant and have the power to shape our lives, before finally, they become our lives. While her recent body of work, Mythos, is her own tale, it is a token of the shared mystery that binds us together.
Tami’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in invitational group exhibitions, juried exhibitions, and solo exhibitions. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named one of the Best of the Best Emerging Fine Art Photographers by BW Gallerist; selection as a Photolucida Critical Mass Finalist, a Photo Review Competition Winner, and a Review Santa Fe Participant. Her work has been featured in Aether Magazine, and was recently published in the United Kingdom’s Black+White Magazine. tamibone.com
Fran Forman ‘Carousel Escape’
Heavily influenced by the Pictorialists, my images are constructed tableau and mythical narratives emanating from dreamscapes. From the Fauvists, these visual narratives are suffused with colour, serving as an emotional springboard.
My visual language is a fusion of photography and painting, merging magic realism and surrealism, generations and technologies. The images explore the complex relationships revealing discrepancies between the conventional and the unknown.
Fran’s photo paintings have been exhibited widely, both locally and internationally, and are in many private collections as well the permanent collections of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Washington, DC), the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Grace Museum (Texas), and the County Down Museum (NI).
Escape Artist: The Art of Fran Forman was published by Schiffer Publishing LTD and was selected as one of the Best Photo Books of 2014 by Elizabeth Avedon and won First Place in an international competition. Fran is also featured in Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: People and Places, 2014, Photoshop Masking and Compositing, 2012, and Internationales Magazin fur Sinnliche Fotografie (Fine Art Photo), 2014, The Hand Magazine, 2016, and Shadow and Light, 2015. She was selected to be Artist in Residence at Holsnoy Kloster, Norway, in 2016.
This past year, Fran has mounted solo exhibitions at The Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbey, England, The Pucker Gallery (Boston), and Open Shutter Gallery (Colorado). Over the past decade, she has won many significant top prizes such as the Julia Margaret Cameron International First Prize in Fine Art Photography and the Px3 Prix de la Photographie. Her artwork also graces the covers of many books and magazines.
She is represented by Pucker Gallery (Boston), AfterImage Gallery (Dallas), Susan Spiritus Gallery (California), and Photo Méthode (Austin, Texas).
She is a Resident Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis, a recipient of several grants and Artist Residencies, and teaches digital collage at various colleges in Boston.
Fran studied art and sociology at Brandeis University, received an MSW in psychiatric social work, and then an MFA from Boston University. www.franforman.com
Paul Biddle ‘Incubation’
Born in 1952, Birmingham, England.
My inspiration and influences range from Renaissance artto Dadaism and Surrealism, from Picasso to the flotsam and jetsam that I pick up on walks by the sea near my home. Having experimented with a wide variety of media during my time at art school, I found that photography was the thing that most excited me. The immediacy and the rather hazy line that can be created between reality and the feeling of not being quite sure what is happening is what I find appealing.
My latest series is about Cabinets of Curiosity and Rooms of Wonder. It’s about Man as avid collector and pillager of the Natural World to the detriment of that world, as symbolised by the Dodo. I have photographed many Natural History museum exhibits and locations and any interesting items that I find on my travels. The idea of combining them back in the studio seems appropriate as these Cabinets often contained fakes and Jennys (the fabulous creations constructed by combining parts of different creatures). So the fact that I create these strange and curious items is entirely in keeping with the tradition.
I like to make pictures that you feel the need to revisit and see something new, maybe half hidden in the shadows and as for meaning, my work implies stories, feelings and notions, leaving it to the viewer to make up their own.
Biddle has won many International Awards and his work has been exhibited all over the world. www.paulbiddle.com