The Nameless Hour: Places of Reverie, Paths of Reflection

November 19, 2010 – February 20, 2011

Co-curated by Ashley Kistler, gallery director, and Dinah Ryan, art critic,
independent curator and creative writing professor and Principia College

Utilizing all three floors of the gallery, as well as a 19th-century carriage house next door, the exhibition featured video, sound, and sculptural installations by Janine Antoni (New York), Stephen Cartwright (Champaign, IL), Spencer Finch (New York), Sigalit Landau (Tel Aviv), Paul Pfeiffer (New York), Pipilotti Rist (Zurich and Los Angeles), and Stephen Vitiello (Richmond).

Invoking what the philosopher Gaston Bachelard identifies as “working reverie,” each artist in The Nameless Hour turns an extraordinary and precise attention to physical elements of the world and of landscape, opening spheres of thought and imagination that produce receptive quiet, free play, and deep reflection.

Variously reiterating the notion of the conscious body as the most enduring means by which humans pay attention and accrue understanding, some works featured in this exhibition rely for their impact on the physical efforts and endurance required by the artist’s own performance or activity within the landscape.  Physical sensations thus enlisted—like balance, buoyancy, weightlessness, immersion, and sustained attention—operate as multifaceted metaphors. In other instances, aspects of the landscape serve as a route to reverie by illuminating the changing nature of perception and by apprehending things that are fleeting or in need of recovery and recollection.

Through a multitude of ways, these artists make manifest the qualities, acts, processes, states, pathways, uses, and consequences that engender and arise from the complex phenomenon of human consciousness called “reverie.” Their work opens up and enlarges the world, offering singular opportunities to contemplate and reimagine our own place within it.

The catalogue includes essays and contributions by author and philosophy professor Kathleen Dean Moore; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Wright; artists Janine Antoni, Stephen Cartwright, and Stephen Vitiello; and both curators. It is available for $20.

The exhibition and publication are made possible, in part, by generous support from the Office of the Dean, School of the Arts.