As the dreamer sleeps, does she dream the field, or is this where she lies? As we live in the world, do we create it for ourselves, or are we subject to it? What happens to us, and what can we rely on, as we meet the challenges of existence? This tension between the imagined and the actual, the challenges and the solutions we face and create are at the heart of Totem, the latest body of work from painter Travis Shilling.
Received like transmissions from a possible world, these paintings express a remarkable anthropomorphic vision of existential problems. Thematically rich, these images do not settle for nostalgia and idealism. They explore both displacement and the idea of home along with the threat and the lure of nature, and encourage us to consider our lives and struggles through the different modes of engagement embodied by the subjects of each image. Travis Shilling has seen something powerful and troubling and has made these visions compelling by his brush.