Review - Una Rey, The Dreaming Room, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, 27/3/16
Una Rey, Snake Country, 2013
First things first: Una Rey has a great deal more Art history than I probably ever will. Because of this, there are undoubtedly many thing in her work that I will have missed - my apologies in advance for this.
The elements of surrealism in here work are immediately obvious and appealing: human figures are turned away from the viewer, exiting through distant doors or up stairs leading to unseen places, or they are truncated, seen only partly or piecemeal in mirrors.
The part figures, mostly female, are revealing themselves or memories of themselves in intimate fashion, but somehow not provocatively. The casual frankness of the dream prevails. All the whole figures visible are themselves art works displayed, figurines and statues occupying the central spaces, although these too are often partial, broken or partly out of view.
Landscapes are prevalent also, in many senses. They are seen literally out of a window, or figuratively in a work hung in a gallery where two figures stand in ambivalent proximity, or in a central, transmuted figure. The huge outer landscape of the world is reflected in the infinite inner landscape of the artist's mind, it would seem. Aboriginal art, evoking Dreamtime and Dreaming, often appears and helps dislocate us from the everyday world.
Although the works seem deeply personal, as the catalog text indicates, they are not limited to the artist's point of view, and allow us to occupy the spaces we see in them. We are drawn to wonder how it would be to walk through the doorways, or be standing by that bed in a memory that we see in the paintings. Often we are invited by silhouettes or outlines to take a specific place in the dreamscape.
Overall, an exhibition of personally involving work that invites us to enter the dream space of the artist in a direct, evocative manner.