ESCAPISM

dialogues within daydreams and night voyages

October 2nd – 30th at Arch Enemy Arts, Philadelphia

Artist show statement

” In the light of the current pandemic and the challenges the world is facing, this show focuses on the coping mechanisms that we have to transform uncertainty into a manageable lived reality, by the power of imagination. Through daydreams and night voyages, time is being inscribed and made meaningful, providing us with a hopeful escape when it is needed most. They create dialogues that allow us to connect with the world in a new way. “Escapism” focuses on the different elements that constitute such voyages (dialogues) and that enable us to remain resilient when times get tough. It’s a celebration of the fact that we can be our own safe haven, when we dare to make new connections and accept that our daydreams might just be our reality. “

Gallery statement

Arch Enemy Arts is pleased to announce Escapism: Dialogues within Daydreams and Night Voyages, a magnificent ten-piece solo feature by Dutch artist Dewi Plass. Known for her ability to craft spectacular scenes of animals, who are full of personality and emotional depth, Plass contextualizes the work for this series with the current state of the world, offering us a new lens through which to view her signature motif.

She writes, “In the light of the current pandemic and the challenges the world is facing, this show focuses on the coping mechanisms that we have to transform uncertainty into a manageable lived reality, by the power of imagination. Through daydreams and night voyages, time is being inscribed and made meaningful, providing us with a hopeful escape when it is needed most.”

Like most of Plass’ work, at first glance, each piece in the series feels placid, airy, full of love and light. When we look more closely, however, we notice there is a fragility to the serenity; it is calm on the brink of chaos. These animals are in precarious positions—sleeping in a bubble, for instance, or handling a delicate glass—and we see in their eyes (more than) a hint of emotional disquietude. In this moment, we realize: these animals represent ourselves. In “My safe haven (where do we go from here?),” we find ourselves bound by the fragile state of things, perhaps tied in knots by the very feeling that stability and life are not guaranteed. In “A sense of security is a fragile thing,” we wonder—will our protectors do more harm than good?

All told, in true Dewi Plass form, there is a glimmer of hope to every picture. In not one piece is a character left alone. In fact, togetherness and support are two themes we keep coming back to in the work. In “Unity (connections made in a parallel universe),” we take on one another’s spots and stripes, triumphs and sorrows, so that we may come to weather this storm. In “Unknown Destinations (follow the light),” we continue this journey together, even when no light shines to carry us through. All in all, this is one of Plass’ strongest shows to date, and we are grateful to her for the reminder: there is only one way to get through the road ahead, and that is together.

Artwork availability