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Gil Scullion: UP ALL NIGHT at Housatonic Museum of Art

UP ALL NIGHT: work from the insomnia project, which features work by installation artist Gil Scullion of Middletown, opens February 28 and continues through March 22, 2013 at HCC.

BRIDGEPORT – UP ALL NIGHT: work from the insomnia project opens February 28 and continues through March 22, 2013. This exhibition has been curated by Robbin Zella and features the work of installation artist Gil Scullion of Middletown, Connecticut.

Up All Night (2013) is inspired from the sleep disorders that the artist has wrestled with for several years. Although the project is not a first-person record of tossing and turning, it nevertheless is inspired by Scullion’s interest in sleeplessness. This theme evolved through the recognition of insomnia’s intriguing formal relationships, especially its foundation as a presence defined by an absence. After all, insomnia is the absence of sleep, which is itself the absence of consciousness. So while autobiographical information is integrated into the structure of the installation the elements are manipulated with an emphasis on their formal characteristics.

The project incorporates five different but related sets of work, Wake Me Shake MeSheet-Sheep-Sleep, 00-60, Not Just Another Good Night’s Sleep, and It’s the Same Thing Every Night.

Wake Me Shake Me (2010 – 2011) depicts the brain’s sleep center as a workshop. Here the stimuli that provoke sleeplessness are represented as templates for the production of various images. Paper bags serve as containers for the resulting pictures. Two projection screens are utilized: one describes sleeplessness as a lost love and the other describes a rare, fatal form of insomnia.

In Sheet Sheep Sleep (2009-2010) 30 stenciled panels of sheep are hung out on a line laundry-style. Each template is capable of producing multiple impressions; however, that potential is, as yet, unrealized. Here, Scullion’s use of sheep is a humorous reminder that counting them is believed to induce sleep.

00-60 (2009-2011) features a modified digital alarm clock that endlessly reads out minutes but not hours, reflecting the dislocation from time that characterizes a loss of sleep. Cardboard bedroom furniture provides a setting for the clock. A one-hour video of the clock in an actual bedroom is projected within the installation.

Not Just Another Good Night’s Sleep centers on a set of three short texts describing incidents that contribute to sleep deprivation. The texts, and a series of images inspired by the texts, have been cut into stencils. The stencils are used to produce paintings directly on the gallery walls on scrap paper or, as in this installation, on discarded cardboard boxes. The paintings are temporary, disposable and frequently recyclable.

In It's the Same Thing Every Night (2011) stenciled sheep are combined with an ornamental motif and the texts from Not Just Another Good Night’s Sleep to produce a tense standoff between sleeplessness and slumber. The elements appear in two and three-dimensional forms evoking our visceral engagement with painting and sculpture.

Each of the five bodies of work was conceived as an independent piece, but they are cumulative as well, in effect, flexible modules that create a profoundly more dramatic work over time.

Each exhibition utilizes a different set of elements while each new installation is expressly tailored to engage with each new physical space. Gil Scullion’s UP ALL NIGHT: work from the insomnia project in the Burt Chernow Galleries at the Housatonic Museum of Art is the most comprehensive installation of the project to date.

The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will be on display in the Burt Chernow Galleries in Lafayette Hall at Housatonic Community College. The opening reception will be held February 28 between 5 and 7 p.m. in the galleries. For more information about the exhibit, please visit our website www.housatonicmuseum.org

Housatonic Community College, located at 900 Lafayette Blvd. in downtown Bridgeport, less than 150 yards off I-95 (Exit 27) and Rte 8 (Exit 1), a block from the arena at Harbor Yard. Free parking is available in the HCC garage.

The galleries are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays until 7 p.m. We are closed for all state and national holidays. Please also check the website for closings due to weather.

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