Lubbock FFAT: Kathy Kelley
“Somatic Compliance + The Dream Fragment :: A Dora Derivative” is the solo exhibition (named in the tradition of Godspeed You! Black Emperor) by Texas Tech fine arts doctoral student Kathy Kelley (located in the TTU Satellite Gallery.)
The show subtitle’s Dora is in reference to the (in some circles) famous case study by Freud investigating the supposed hysteria of a woman whose real name was not Dora, but whose supposed psychosis was interesting enough to Freud that he spent months imposing his psychoanalytic order on her symptoms.
Kelley’s work takes the form of a room full of gargantuan, bizarrely reassembled visions of bedroom and nursery furniture, lit to suggest a dream about sleep itself. The exhibition reads as a sculpture show, rather than an installation in that nothing here is in any way place- or environment-specific, but it acts like an installation exhibition.
The individual pieces don’t function well as objects as one expects to find in sculpture; a giant chair or a giant pillow-mattress is not itself interesting as an arrangement of space or as an assertion of something through a medium (as was the Life of Cotton show you may remember at LHUCA). Rather, they seem to work only as a whole, each acting as a facet of a single dream experience.
Reading this one step further, the works act more like a stream of dream-consciousness rather than features of a narrative or even a contemplation of space. Each bit of fabric, gutted frame, and scrap of lumber is bent to Kelley’s drive to recreate something highly personal. What her experience was, while essential to the presentation’s making, is I think not essential to our experience of what really does emulate a remembered dream. It takes you down the rabbit hole, and in so doing alters your vision of the materials in the work and of the space itself.
*The author's opinions are his own.