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Zen Psychosis: Anatomy of a Dream / Osceola Refetoff / Ronald H Silverman Fine Arts Gallery


Zen Psychosis: Anatomy of a Dream

Solo exhibition by Osceola Refetoff

Words by Shana Nys Dambrot

Curation by Dr. Mika Cho

Ronald H Silverman Fine Arts Gallery, California State University, Los Angeles

November 4 - 16, 2023


Video by L.A. Art Documents / www.laartdocuments.com

 

The exhibition features photography, film, object sculpture, and literature based on the 2020 novel, Zen Psychosis. A surrealist narrative investigating the language, power, and truth of dreams first told in oneiric words by Shana Nys Dambrot and pinhole images by Osceola Refetoff, Anatomy of a Dream expands the project to include multi-sensory, participatory, and experiential dimensions.


In addition to pinhole exposures spanning a number of years, new pinhole images will be part of the show, including a large, never exhibited, 4×5 foot print of “Whale Spotting,” a Kinematic pinhole exposure captured in Antarctica, and likely the world’s only pinhole exposure of whales ever shown. In addition, a remastered print of Refetoff’s New York University multiple award-winning graduate thesis film “The Savage Sleep” (14 minute,16mm, 1991) will premiere. The film combines live-action footage with clay animation and pixilation (stop frame animation with live actors) to explore a dreamer’s struggles with guilt and desire in a series of nocturnal encounters.


Interspersed throughout the exhibition are installations of sculptural vignettes comprised of found objects from Refetoff’s collection that suggest dream states.


In Dambrot’s summation of the show she writes, “The exhibition of photography, film, object sculpture, and literature is based on the 2020 novel, Zen Psychosis. A surrealist narrative investigating the language, power, and truth of dreams first told in oneiric words by Dambrot and pinhole images by Refetoff, ‘Anatomy of a Dream’ expands the project to include multi-sensory, participatory, and experiential dimensions.”


Pinhole exposures are photographs created by gathering light through a pinhole-sized opening rather than a lens. The tiny aperture requires long shutter times – often 30 seconds or more if shot at night. Refetoff says, “The entire process happens ‘in camera,’ at the moment of capture, in a kind of alchemical reaction that transforms the external world into something both unchanged and extraordinary, realistic and magical.”


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