March 12, 2011
New works by Lee Deigaard consider the horse as significant Other. Featuring nocturnal portraits and video animations, In Your Dreams (Horses) explores proprioceptive awareness, relational mysteries, and the chimerical power of memory and yearning.
Horses validate your most exquisite perceptions. They read your thoughts even as you form the words. In the pasture at night, darkness is a permeable membrane; your senses heighten. You encounter each other in the dark, partly real, partly figment.
As a child, I collected plastic horses and pored over manuals of horse care. Absent a real horse, I was ready, if called, to muck out the Augean Stables. Hercules did a rush job, took shortcuts. I would have done it right, as ministration in service to a yearning. A dream of a horse, not all night mares are bad dreams.
Family portraits of my relatives with their horses instilled in me a conviction that horses, too, were my kin. In the old photographs, the humans and horses were inseverable from one another.
In 2007, I began posting videos on youTube of myself interacting with a horse. Intended to explore cross-species communication and affection, the videos elicited polarized viewer commentary. The uncensored comments appear in conversational stream of consciousness in the text of Dirty/Pure (1-3).
As an adult, I have been lucky to count horses among my close friends. I owe a debt to the ministrations and generosity of Blue in particular, but also Buddy, Chico, Mel, Sid, and Otoe.
Room 1 features nocturnal portraits of horses, taken in dark pastures with a handheld camera and an infrared flash. Often I can hear the horses and nearly feel their breath on me before I can fully see them. The process of making the images involves a sort of proprioceptive choreography between human and horse.
Color photographs from the series Horse Lips line the intimate corridor transition into Room 2.
In Room 2 video animations, an installation, and prints consider the horse as a figure of longing. In a large central projection, a toy horse runs forever and never grows tired. An intimate sound recording of a sleeping horse, a wooden bed with horse blankets on a fragrant bed of pine shavings reference the dream of a horse.
“Postcard” animations of old family photographs consider an expanded definition of human-equine kinship. A small video depicts the artist reclining with a horse. Prints incorporating YouTube viewer comments on the artist’s videos of horse-human interactions explore divergent, often gendered, ways of looking at the same thing.