9/15/16 – Sean Foley and Deirdre Barrett

Between Wonder and the Monstrous | Sean Foley and Deirdre Barrett

September 15, 6:30pm 

Organized by Catalyst Conversations at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Part of the programming for the exhibit Overgrowth, on view April 1 – September 18, curated by Sarah Montross. Drawn from deCordova’s permanent collection—and featuring work by international, national, and New England artists acquired over the past fifty years—this exhibition demonstrates how ongoing change spans natural, man-made, and creative enterprises.

Artist Sean Foley and Harvard dream researcher Deirdre Barrett will discuss the parallels between the states of wonder and dreaming. Their conversation titled Between Wonder and the Monstrous will investigate how our dreams during sleep gives us access to the state of wonder, of “unknowing” when we are awake.

Both science and art make the invisible visible. Sean Foley’s paintings and installations provide a lens to the grotesque, the horrible, to nonsense, and the uncanny. He is fascinated by the sense of wonder that “leaves you breathless and then ends as abruptly as it strikes”. It is like a waking dream state. According to Deirdre Barrett all mammals dream. She is interested in our ability to problem solve, and be creative during the REM sleep state. Dreaming increases the sleeper’s ability to visualize, to think outside the box, to see things that are not there. Sleep is restorative in so many ways; creativity is a metaphor for all the senses, in the dream state – all these elements come together.

Sean Foley received a BFA from Herron School of Art and an MFA from The Ohio State University. He is currently a professor at the College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME and was an Associate Professor and the Chair of Painting at Maine College of Art and more recently a Visiting Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer at The Ohio State University. Sean has shown nationally at Anna Kustera Gallery and Mary Ryan Gallery in New York, Irvine Contemporary in Washington DC, and Allston Skirt Gallery in Boston. Museum shows include Mass MoCA, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Maine), and the Academy of Arts and Letters, NY. His recent honors include residencies at the Kohler Art / Industry program and a Rauschenberg Foundation Residency. He has also been recipient of a Golden Foundation Fellowship, Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship, and Jurors and Purchase Prizes from the Portland Museum of Art Biennial exhibitions. Foley co-curated the exhibition, Explode Every Day An Inquiry Into The Phenomena Of Wonder, currently on view at Mass MoCA.

Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D. is a Past President of both the International Association for the Study of Dreams and the American Psychological Association’s Div. 30, The Society for Psychological Hypnosis. Dr. Barrett has written four books: Supernormal Stimuli, Waistland, The Committee of Sleep, and The Pregnant Man & Other Cases from a Hypnotherapist’s Couch. She is an editor of four additional books: The New Science of Dreaming, Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, The Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreams, and Trauma and Dreams. Dr. Barrett has published academic articles and chapters on health, hypnosis, and dreams, and evolutionary psychology. She is Editor in Chief of the journal Dreaming: The Journal of the Association for the Study of Dreams and a Consulting Editor for Imagination, Cognition, and Personality and The International Journal for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. She has lectured at Esalen, the Smithsonian, and at universities around the world. Dr. Barrett teaches 2 courses on dreaming at Harvard. Her current research focuses mostly on dreams and evolutionary psychology.