Monday, September 16, 2013

The Luxury of Dreams at The Dunes October 4th

The Luxury of Dreams

October 4- October 31
Opening Reception: Friday October 4th 7-10 PM

The Malarial Adventures of Jess

I would like to invite you to the reception for my upcoming exhibit The Luxury of Dreams at The Dunes in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Last winter, as the City of DC cut funding to homeless shelters, there were increases in the demands for these services. A number of articles brought light to these struggles and I had even heard of shortages of blankets for those in need. The issue was also on my mind for another reason.

I live in the middle of Washington, DC, and am a regular user of a bus stop at North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue in my neighborhood of Bloomingdale. It's always been a bit of a sketchy bus stop. A hidden community liquor bottle, drug dealing, lots of just sitting around all day. For a handful of years there was a particularly memorable man that sat on one of the benches and stared across the street at nothing in particular. He was often in a ski suit, well into warmer weather. Sometimes he'd stand up and almost fall into traffic along Florida Avenue. Every once in a while, I would catch him before he fell.  He never spoke, but would look at me, smile, and raise both his arms slightly. THAT was the extent of our communication, for a very long time. One day after a guy was accosting me at the bus stop, my snow suited friend, yelled out "he's all right!" and that seemed to quiet the other guy down. We talked a bit, he offered me some of the liquor, and food that he had on him. We talked for a while till my bus came, but only brokenly so. He was very, very hard to understand.  So last winter, reading all these stories about cuts in services, increases in demand, I recalled that I hadn't seen my bus stop friend in a while. One night, literally an hour after I was talking about him to someone, I got off of the bus at this intersection and I hear, in a very clear, articulate, sober voice, "it's good to see you, it's been a while". I couldn't believe it!  Because of services provided to those in need, this guy had gotten cleaned up, had a place to live, and was actively seeking to improve his life. We talked for a while, and I see him now and again. The turnaround for this guy was staggering. But it is a daily struggle for him.

With all these things in mind, I began thinking about artwork based on blankets, on beds, and on shelter. I then wondered if the level of security of having a place to sleep affected how we dream. I was thinking about how we all enter the world of dreams, regardless of where we sleep. I thought that I would create a series of works based on the dreams of others. Through conversations with the amazing Deidree Bennett from The Dunes about art and social issues, my idea for The Luxury of Dreams series was born. I started soliciting dreams from friends, colleagues, collectors, other artists, and social media connections.

As I was dealing with an uncomfortable issue in the inspiration of this series, and a new way of developing content within my work, I wanted to take a new approach to the creation of the work itself. I decided that I would utilize photography and drawings into glass. After receiving many dreams from friends and strangers I began conceptualizing how I would approach the pieces. At first I thought I would layer photos and drawings with castings of glass Beds and Blankets. I may still create a series in that direction, but I decided for this first series on dreams that I would pick imagery from the dreams that I felt most connected and relate it to my way of storytelling. Atypical of how I approach a series, each piece will feel different and have different shapes and sizes. I usually like for my series to read like a book, often with each piece the same size and scale; another new way of making work for me.

I also wanted this series to act as a fundraiser and to help raise awareness of how we all may help out. I reached out to THRIVE DC for the work that they do with those in need.
The Secret Room on the Landing

The Dunes
1402 Meridian Place NW
The Dunes is located at the intersection of 14th Street NW and Meridian Place. It is on the second floor.
There is a parking lot in the DC USA building, and the Columbia Heights Metro Station is just a few blocks away.

Deidree Bennett
Director of Fine Arts
The Dunes

A portion of proceeds from sales will go toward helping to support THRIVE DC.

Originally founded in 1979 as the Dinner Program for Homeless Women, Thrive DC works to prevent and end homelessness by providing vulnerable individuals a comprehensive range of services to help stabilize their lives. We are unique in providing the last available safety net for people facing economic crisis and housing instability while also providing the first step toward independence for people experiencing extended periods of homelessness.

1525 Newton Street, NW Suite G1
Washington, DC  20010
For general inquiries, please contact us at 202-503-1525 or


Unknown said...

Wow Sean--I am so impressed and intrigued by this work, not only in terms of the quality/look/feel of the art, but also in terms of the depth of YOUR feeling and how you embrace humanity. I look forward to seeing and experiencing it and thank you.

Sean Hennessey said...

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and for your very kind comment.your compliment encourages me to keep doing what I'm doing. Thank you.

Unknown said...

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