a collaboration between Rose M Barron and J William HIll • 2016 The B-Complex
Fine Art Photography in Custom Gilded Frame
archival pigment print ed 1/5
30 x 40
Rose M. Barron
Rose M Barron and J William Hill
Nightmares have long transcended from the dream world into visual art. Our tableaux The Nightmare and Warping the Tableau are collaborative works inspired by Henry Fuseli's iconic painting of horror from 1781 The Nightmare as well as the rich history of the Tableau Vivant. A Tableau Vivant is described as a “living picture” of a costumed group or an individual in static and carefully arranged poses that is usually accompanied by elaborate sets and props. Throughout history the tableau illustrated popular mythologies; famous paintings; or a classical, archetypal or historical event.
As artists whose works contains allegories, symbolism and borrows from mythology and folklore we teamed up to create our own Nightmare re imagining the iconic paining of 1781 depicting sexual terror, sleep paralysis and folklores of supernatural night- visitors.
Our reclining woman in white symbolizes innocence, and the imp portrays the mythological character thought to have impregnated and tormented sleeping women leading to the malaise of the Victorian women. The mare depicts the folkloric beliefs of the Germanic tales about demons and witches possessing people who slept alone. In these stories women were believed to engage in sex with the devil. We added the aspect of the mare making mare-braids in the women's hair which could symbolize entanglement.
Our bottles on the table top and in the woman's hand may be drink or the narcotic mixtures such as opium used at the time.
Flipping the script of the historical context of the tableau vivant in European culture we incorporated our other tableau Warping the Tableau using males painted alabaster white making them sculptural like with no significant identity but to replicate in reverse how Victorian women were placed on pedestals; whereas the still pose of the tableau cleverly by-passed laws on public nudity making it possible for clubs, such as The Windmill, to put naked ladies on display for the ostensible purpose of edifying the male public by recreating classical sculptures.