“Dreaming” Where the dead dream the living to life

What if the dead dreamed the living to life?

In this piece the dead reside below and dream of the living who cavort above. It is through the dream of the dead that the living are animated. In this case, what is our debt to the dead? What do we owe all who have come, and departed, before us?

Justice Schanfarber. Dreaming. 2019. Mixed media on paper. Approx 20×15″.
Photo by Sarmad Al Mouallem.

The below half of the work is assembled of “dead” or previously living materials, long still. The above half of the work is composed “alive” with gestural paint strokes on paper. There is no value judgement placed upon these differences; they are but two sides of a coin (a silver buffalo nickel perhaps).

The photographic image of the animal skull, found in a discarded book, is by celebrated Canadian photographer and painter Rollof Beny (my first introduction to the artist). By “killing” the image through a single decisive tear, then reviving it with a matching decisiveness, an additional horizon is formed and the animal is split in two, appearing to occupy dual strata beneath the full moon. Above, in painterly motion, a creature charges headlong into life.

Though they occupy different realms, a connection is implied through the moon hovering between them and a shared directionality of motion, a movement to the right, to the east, toward morning wakefulness, toward the rising sun.

“Each morning, we return from the dream soul trying to adjust to the day world, that moment when the two souls exchange places in the driver’s seat.”

~ James Hillman