Saturday, August 4, 2007

Connie Toebe's Boxes

Take a look, when you have the chance, at Connie Toebe's boxes, which reveal but barely contain fascinating and haunting dreamscapes. The pictures here are of the boxes called "Scheherezade," exterior and interior of "13 Days of Stolen Secrets," and "The Passenger." Her website includes galleries of 40 boxes. My own favorite, though I have not shown an image of it here, is "Night Visitors to the House of Solitude."

To me there is an eldritch quality to these boxes, a sense that the spectators both within and without the boxes are not quite safe from a beautiful or chilling eruption of wonder into their orderly rooms. Branches and strange objects twine about unstrange furniture. There is no true containment, no true boxing of our lives. Yet on second glance we realize that the images we see depict the uncanny vegetation of our own mind and psyche; as we are drawn to these images with both gasps of wonder and unease, we are driven to reflect on our own habitats, our own boxes, filled with what we consider ordinary enough furniture, filled also with the weavings and windings of bizarre and sometimes nightmarish growths that we ourselves have seeded there and tended, yet which we try to ignore. Toebe's boxes are fourth-dimensional, for we see images of spaces that erupt into the three-dimensional boxes from elsewhere, as well as images that are terribly suggestive of the uneven pressures and gaps of time. "13 Days of Stolen Secrets," from the outside, looks homey and houselike enough, if a little brooding - but on the inside, it stands revealed as no tamed, 3D space. Of which of our homes and boxes is this not the case?

Take a closer look at these unsettling boxes. I feel that I have given only a most imperfect suggestion here of what Connie Toebe has made.

No comments: