“Dreamscaping: The Therapeutic Photomontages of Nancy Gershman” opened this Friday, November 28, featuring 19 photomontages that repurpose personal photographs to create a narrative and address an individual’s sense of loss or regret.
In Dreamscaping, Nancy Gershman asks viewers to consider the idea of using art to ease the pain of a personal loss—death, a ruptured relationship, etc.—of a loved one. Gershman sees her work as the result of a healing process that occurs when the artist visually reconstructs an individual’s memories and helps the individual to achieve closure through recollection and the finality of the composition.
“When I’m creating this mythic landscape from people’s personal mythologies, there are a number of unresolved issues and relationships left behind.“By having a narrative in the form of a Dreamscape, people can start appreciating what happened to them during their lifetime. It is also a way to complete life’s journey with a loved one who has passed away. In the end, you give a person a second chance to heal all that psychic injury.”
The Art of Dreamscaping
Collaborating with therapists, bereavement professionals, social workers, and
clergy, Gershman creates positive visualizations for families or individuals as
they move from the treatment phase into recovery. According to Pamela E. Ambrose, Director of Cultural Affairs and the curator of the show:
“Through a series of extended conversations with the individuals suffering loss, Gershman becomes a translator of their memories, solidifying these personal mythologies into an extant form constructed from old photographs and digitally added elements. The result is what could be described as part icon and part memorial, and challenges the assumption of order.”
TimeOut Chicago writes: “Gershman digitally alters clients’ personal photographs to heal their emotional pain. We’re serious.” (March 7, 2009)