Bronwyn Walls is a New Orleans based artist sharing studio updates throughout October as part of the SHE Digital Artist Residency Program.
Week 3: October 17
A Wake-Dreaming Continuum
I've been writing down my dreams for over five years. Sometimes I remember my dreams often, other times rarely. When I started working in abstraction, I noticed more and more often that images, ideas, and feelings from my dreams were making their way into my work. So, I started being more intentional about recording my dreams and I began to seek out more information about the phenomenon.
I stumbled into an essay by Ernest Hartmann called "The Psychology and Physiology of Dreaming: A New Synthesis," (it's a treasure trove!)
Here's what I've learned--
The cortex of the human brain is made up billions of neurons, connected through a net-like pattern. Information lives in the connections of neurons. When dreaming, the connections that are made are loose and broad, rather than focused and linear as in waking. Hartmann offers this wake-dreaming continuum, to explain the spectrum of mental functioning that exists between waking thought and dreaming:
As the continuum shows, dream thoughts are mostly visual, much less self conscious, and generally boundary-less. Hartmann says "dreams find a picture context for, or contextualize, the emotion or emotional concern."
Based on the wake-dreaming continuum, the psychological state of painting lies somewhere in between waking and dreaming. So, maybe painting is a way of connecting those two worlds that I inhabit.
This week I'm thinking about painting, like dreaming, as:
being caught up in the process
connecting ideas that are seemingly unconnected
activity across or outside of structured subsystems
finding pattern in unexpected places
What I'm looking at: Maruja Mallo