ARTISTS IN CONVERSTAION: BENJAMIN STONE-HERBERT’S DREAMS

We stand in the completed hang in gallery 3.

Benjamin mentions a dream. The dream starts in a warehouse he used to make work in. They often received high electricity bills and suspected the downstairs ceramics studio of chewing up the kilowatts.

In the dream warehouse it turns out that the the ceramicist has lied and has been blowing glass in hidden furnaces disguised by Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle style man hole covers.

hall_frame_singleton With the heat radiating off the walls Benjamin searches for a way out.

He slides back a heavy door at the far end of the glass blowers studio and he is on coastal cliffs, on a northern beaches peninsula seen in many of his salt photos, ‘Box Bay’ perhaps or Towlers.

He is standing in a house or the outline of a house. A wooden frame with only a floor and 2 walls in place. The artist’s photographs from ‘Nature’s Pencil’ are hung precariously on fishing wire from the exposed rafters just as they are hung in the gallery.

Curiously it is very gusty on the headlands but the images ripple slightly like they are being blown by the gallery air conditioning. He looks about him only to realise the frame he is standing inside is balanced on a knifes edge over the rocky escarpment and water below. The galss blower has come through the sliding doors behind Benjamin and stepped into the frame. He stands there denying both that he is a glass blower and the existence of the pulsating and energy hungry furnaces beneath the man-holes in his studio. He jabbers while Benjamin watches the water begin to approach. The house has started to slide off the cliff.

It has always interested me how exhibition anxiety often manifests in the dreams of artists. Jungian dream analysis suggests the house is a symbol of the self.

Benjamin and I muse that his house, with no walls and a series of photographs inside might represent the exposure of the artist and its toppling in to the sea the catharsis of displaying a series as a way of putting an artistic idea to rest.

The dream continues with the glass blower tilted sideways. He looses his footing and falls to the rocks. The house then descends out over the point and plummets to the sea. Benjamin, with uncanny foresight, makes a choice to be able to breathe under water before the house hits the ocean.

With this marvellous and calm new experience of aquatic adaptability Benjamin is provided with a sense of clarity and distance from the dissolving artworks. The knowledge comes to him that they are gone  and he is free to turn his attention to all the many bubbles streaming out from his nostrils and the curiosities of deep ocean contours.

– Grace Mackey in conversation with Benjamin Stone – Herbert.

July 24 – August 4


NATURE’S PENCIL
Benjamin Stone-Herbert
Appearing in NTRAUE (nature) a curatorial program by Claire Monneraye.

www.gaffa.com.au/171123

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