I don’t look when I’m painting, dream artist says

Day Six, Red Square in the City, by Kim Vergil, will be shown at Place des Arts in Coquitlam until November. - KIM VERGIL
Day Six, Red Square in the City, by Kim Vergil, will be shown at Place des Arts in Coquitlam until November.
— image credit: KIM VERGIL

When Montreal artist Kim Vergil paints, she tries not to look. “I stay as detached as possible. I’m trying not to let the ego paint for me,” she said.

And after she’s done, a big part of her process is standing back, flipping it upside and listening to what the images have to say. “That’s when you discover what it’s all about. You’re finding the story and the dream within it.”

Vergil’s acrylic work is deeply tied to dream abstractions.

As a child, she was aware how growth happened through dreams. Then, she often had repetitive dreams that concluded with a final version, of which she would never return to that scenario.

Later, as an adult artist, she pursued her passion of interpreting dreams.

Seven years ago, she took a dream analysis class and, halfway through, she showed her art portfolio to teacher Layne Dalfen. Vergil told her, “I don’t paint my dreams. I paint and it produces a dream.”

Vergil was anxious to know what that meant. Dalfen, a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, invited Vergil to curate an art show for participants of the IASD conference happening in Montreal in 2008, of which she was hosting.

And the rest is history. Vergil followed the conferences in the United States and around the world, curating the dream-inspired artwork for each event.

And the more Vergil learned, “the more I started to realize my artwork — and the way I had been producing my artwork — was very much the way we produced our night dreams.”

Last year, on Mother’s Day, Vergil began a new year-long project, titled One Day... week, month, year, based on her dream journaling.

The concept is this: She collected about 30 photographs from one day, made a collage and painted on a canvas the next morning; then, she photographed each day during a week that resulted in a single tableau. She continued the weekly pattern for a month. And, the following month, she would gather all the pictures she snapped (about 800) over 30 or 31 days and distilled them into one piece. Vergil did that every month for a year.

For her Place des Arts show, she will display 22 new pieces based on her daily life and dreams over 12 months.

Dreams, she said, can have an impact in people’s lives, especially with problem solving. “If you live to 85, you dream for 20 years. That’s every night, every 45 minutes for half-an-hour, averaging five dreams a night. That’s a lot of information that we just kind of go, ‘Oh, that’s a silly dream,’ which is not true.”

• Kim Vergil will be giving a talk on dream abstractions — along with guest poet Carolyn Bell — at the opening reception of her new exhibit on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. One Day... week, month, year runs from tomorrow (Thursday) until Nov. 9 in the Leonore Peyton Salon at Place des Arts (1120 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam). Vergil is also inviting the community to help create a BLURB.com book, based on her exhibit.











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