One expansive mirrored mural covers the walls of a gallery with innumerable colors. The single room of Gladstone Gallery feels almost sacred, as even the floor reflects the stained glass of the four walls, like the liturgical imagery of a historic chapel. Yet this room has no single focal point. Instead, the viewers can look for themselves in 38 different mirrors, if they peer hard enough through all the color. The artist Jim Hodges employs vibrancy and reflection in I dreamed a world and called it Love, an installation that pulls light into continuous panels of tinted glass.
The enticing title isn’t directly inferred from the work itself, but it’s not a far stretch to imagine it’s origin. “Lots of his work revolves around loss of loved ones, people close to him,” Allison Rodman, director of communications at Gladstone Gallery tells The Creators Project. “He always creates something beautiful, born out of that.”
Hodges has dealt in colors and collage before, most recently creating a multi-blue sky with a myriad of denim scraps in 2013 with Untitled (one day it all comes true). He first came to art-world renown in the 1990’s, when his works dealt directly with the AIDS crisis. While his subject material has shifted in the last 25 years, his light touch and knack for combining parts to make a whole has remained a trademark element of his work.
I dreamed a world took a week and a half to install, the glass lining a body of canvas two inches thick. From a distance in low light, the glass patterns appear 2D, like murky currents with puddle edges, mimicking the oily surface of chemical-tainted liquid. Moving closer, there’s just enough light in the room to make out reflections, while the grooves in the glass distort the mirrored images. The cuts are too finite to be jigsaw, too jagged to remind you of a river; they create new shapes with the light and the viewer’s own reflection.
The 50 by 46.5 foot room has one opening, and the colors grow and change with each of the 38 panels on the wall. It starts at black, travels through blues, greens, golds, reds, and greys, before returning to black again. The colors don't remain in unison: a closer look around the room reveals a splash of brown in the blues, a streak of purple in the golds, or a crumple of all the colors in one small square foot segment.
One panel of glassy wall — all black, murky as the rest, contains a few traces of green — waits outside the entrance. It's as if the door wasn't supposed to be there, like the artist planned for an enclosed space moving in a continuous loop with no light or color slipping out. Like a dream box which the artist wanted to stay enclosed.