At first glance, BelleFlores’ “The Dreamy Mountain” reminded me of the Verdic religion (ancient Hinduism) and its god Varuna, who was god of water as well as the “celestial ocean” and law. It seems BelleFlores created this artwork with the same understanding Varuna had towards the celestial laws of existence: that they are all completely connected. “The Dreamy Mountain” reminds me that our relationship to the earth, evolution, and universal laws are all blissfully out of our control and quite wonderful. Look at that mountain, the ocean, the dolphins, it’s a ceaselessly unfolding nirvana if I’ve ever seen one.
By viewing “The Dreamy Mountain” we’re looking at a visual representation of a hypnagognic state, the delightful moments where you are not quite awake, nor no longer asleep. Those precious few seconds of being in between wakefulness and unconsciousness; between sleep and thought. The moments of stillness before you remember who you are and what you have to do that day. “The Dreamy Mountain” contains the same unassuming qualities of dreaming in which things, people, and places just are what they are. It’s beautiful in its ambiguity.
That’s one way to look at it, and while I was sitting, admiring “The Dreamy Mountain”, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old video game “Lemmings”, in which your tiny minion lemmings were completely at your mercy. You could work together and advance levels by overcoming obstacles, or all melt together in a lava pool. And that’s why I like “The Dreamy Mountain” so much, it’s anything we want it to be. It can be the lofty metaphor we see in our understanding of how we relate to nature, or it can remind us of levels on a video game we played as a kid.
By using digital photography to manipulate and blend worlds, BelleFlores has sewn together, pixel by pixel, what she herself describes as the mountain having a dream. What a surreal, absurd assertion!? That a mountain, a land mass, could dream just as you and I do? How fantastically weird and quietly beautiful to wonder about the sentient nature of all that surrounds us. For me, this artwork exemplifies an exercise in stretching the imagination, because isn’t BelleFlores really asking us to consider what a mountain would dream of? What does a mountain yearn for? What could a thing of such magnitude ponder?
At first I was drawn in by the beautiful pastels and the leaping dolphins, but now that BelleFlores has asked us to imagine a mountain experiencing a dream, I feel we have found the heart of the issue. “The Dreamy Mountain” dreams big, and doesn’t apologize for it. It’s gutsy, earnest, and ambitious. BelleFlores’ mind-bending approach is exactly the reason that it’s our Piece of the Week.