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Borrowed Dreams

On a recent visit to Lorna Bieber’s studio a friend looked at me and asked, “Where have I seen that before?” I suggested that he saw it on the exhibition section of the HCP website. “No, no. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I’ve seen that image in a dream.”

When Lorna Bieber sets out to create a work of art, she seeks to tap into a shared consciousness by constructing an image that evokes a sense of familiarity. Bieber works to create something that the viewers have never seen yet recall from their “memory’s stock of images*.” These reactions are at the root of Bieber’s creative process. She began her artistic career as a painter, but it wasn’t until she started to use the photocopy machine, and the possibilities the technology made available, that she found her creative license. She begins by making copies of found images, reinterprets them through various manipulations, and then photographs her constructions. Using multi-layered, complex processes allowsBieber to explore extreme variety and reproducibility. She paints, collages, and then may print and re-photograph a specific construction several times before reaching her desired effect. Then, working with master printer Chuck Kelton, she creates unique and poignant gelatin prints which allow us to see the ordinary and common place from a new perspective.

Rose Marasco also pulls images from everyday material — magazines, posters, and advertisements — to create work that becomes less familiar through alteration yet retains recognizable elements from the original. In Interior Projections, Marasco investigates the ubiquitous images that surround us in contemporary life. Projecting found images on domestic scenes, the resulting tableaus exemplify the impact of media culture representations on one’s sense of identity. Larger than life faces of female celebrities are superimposed against living room walls, kitchen cabinets, and bedrooms, evoking the challenges of living between the fictionalized ideals and more mundane aspects of daily life. In Silhouettes, she uses the shape of naturally
beautiful creatures to examine and explore cultural ideals of feminine beauty — perfected female forms are abstracted from advertisements and positioned within the hand-cut silhouette of a bird. In her most recent work, Marasco has further worked with this perspective, confining views of the historically prominent New York City architecture within a hand-cut silhouette of a female form from fashion history. Through her use of opposing historical forms, Marasco provides a thoughtful meditation on the role of time and era in promoting archetypal constructions.

Both Bieber and Marasco begin their processes with vernacular imagery appropriated from popular media. Through their creative processes — layers, manipulations, and reinterpretation — they offer us images that are familiar, yet not quite tangible, as if we once experienced them in a dream or fleeting observation.