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Patrick Traer: When Dreams Awake

Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon Jun 19 to Sep 13 2009
Patrick Traer  <I>spills and disappearance</I>  2009  /  photo Ben Tucker Patrick Traer spills and disappearance 2009 / photo Ben Tucker

Patrick Traer <I>spills and disappearance</I> 2009 / photo Ben Tucker

“I had the strangest dream…” It’s a statement that we’ve all found ourselves considering from time to time as we mull over the bizarre and sometimes troubling narrative play of our minds at rest. Whether there is lasting meaning involved is debatable, but one thing is certain: dreams reveal the unknown, and often surprising, imaginative depths of the human subconscious.

For his latest exhibition, Montreal-based artist Patrick Traer delves into this "nether" realm in a presentation of embroidery, drawings, audio and photographic works that both challenge and acknowledge dreams as grounds for micro- and macrocosmic interpretation.

Titled “don’t tell me your dreams,” the exhibition stems from the artist’s recent diagnosis with a sleep disorder and, accordingly, the works in the show resist any simple reading of what dreams (or the lack thereof) might mean.

Traer’s sequence of charcoal drawings, star-shapes, the felicitous fulfillment of distance, displays an obsessive mark-making that might be the fantastic vision of a dreamer or the manic doodling of an insomniac. His moon-like audio sculpture, whistling above the imperative of analysis, pointedly disrupts the telling of various dream accounts with an overlaid soundtrack. Similarly, Traer’s suite of large-scale digital photos, spills and disappearance, depicts the dreamlike universes of vacant lots in downtown Montreal—a nod, perhaps, to the exploratory nature of restless nocturnal ramblings.

Taken together, this is a body of work that suggests sleepless nights can set the mind racing just as wildly as the most fantastic dream. (950 Spadina Cr E, Saskatoon SK)

This article was first published online on July 2, 2009.

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