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A Dream About Art?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on August 23, 2017

So this morning I had a dream in which I was at an art gallery. I found a sculpture I liked and bought it, for $750. Oddly specific there, that price. Of course price is very important. I couldn’t afford to buy a piece of art for $750 right now.

There was something familiar about the piece. It was a piece of carved wood, shaped like a distorted ellipse, with one part narrower than the other, as though it was what was left of an ovoid after cutting out the center and leaving just a two-dimensional outline of the ovoid. The smaller end was pointed down. There was a piece of wood hanging in the center of the piece also. As I was admiring it, the recently deceased winemaker/sculptor/writer/poet/skier Jim Fish appeared next to it. He looked at me, as if to say, that looks familiar. And indeed, it really did resemble the wood sculptures he used to make; it was even mounted on a stone base, just as he used to do. In fact, I couldn’t tell the difference, but I felt I hadn’t bought it from Jimmie the Fish.

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In the meantime, he had reassembled the sculpture I had just bought, and even added pieces from a disassembled sculpture of his. It now resembled a three-dimensional rectangle, and it was ugly. I tried to restore it to its original appearance, but I found it difficult to do so. Suddenly, within the dream, I had the epiphany that it really did matter how such sculptures were oriented in space, and how they were mounted. Jim Fish’s sculptures always seemed random to me, and I had often joked about using them for firewood on frigid winter mornings at the winery when we had nothing else to put into the fireplace. I would have mentioned that epiphany to Jim, but he was no longer there. I wanted him to put my newly acquired sculpture back together, but he had left his smaller sculpture there as well. For some reason I tried putting a small piece of his sculpture in place of the small piece in mine, but I couldn’t make it work.

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And then, of course, I was fully awake. Would I spend money on a sculpture? Possibly, but I already know I have no space for it here. There are photos and paintings and posters all over my walls, and one wall is all overstuffed bookcases. Another wall has my vinyl records, music CDs, old cassettes, TV, and my stereo system. With my regular furniture: a stuffed chair, a faux-leather chair, my small wooden kitchen table and chairs, my desk, and my bed and bureau,  I’ve used up all the corners and the rest of the space.

Nevertheless, it occurs to me that I wish I did have one of Jim’s sculptures.

 

All of his sculptures have been removed from the winery. They are temporarily stored in the studio of a painter friend of Jim’s. The plan, from what I heard, is to put Jim’s sculptures into a gallery. I remember wondering how whoever reassembles them will know how to do so, like what wood piece goes on what base, and how each piece is mounted. After a little time goes by, it may be difficult to remember how everything goes. Hell, it may be impossible to know what wood each piece is carved from. There’s apricot, acacia, piñon and cherry, for example, and damned if I know which is which without Jim’s little titles and descriptions. His small, plastic-coated cards were always blowing off the sculptures, and I was forever picking them up off the winery’s floor when I was cleaning. Only Jim really knew what was what for certain.

 

So, I see my dream was not so much about art in general, but really about Jim Fish and his sculptures. I will have to help with those sculptures if they ever make it into galleries. After 17 years of looking at each new one Jim added, and seven years of putting the little cards back on each one, I should have some idea what each one is.

This one  IMG_3286  was always “Not For Sale”. However, so many people pestered Jim to buy it, insisting that everything has a price, that he finally put a price on it: $10,000. After that, he got no more offers. I like it a lot.

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