Jennifer and Kevin McCoy: Postmasters
Hall, Emily, Artforum International
Two kinds of time--cinematic and oneiric--pass in Jennifer and Kevin McCoy's recent exhibition, "Directed Dreaming." In the show's centerpiece, the multimedia installation Dream Sequence, 2006, two rotating platforms each contain a series of dreamlike scenarios built using tiny figures and train-set-style buildings and trees. As the platforms turn, a series of cameras and mirrors project images of the miniscule film sets on to the gallery wall, to the accompaniment of a whooshing oceanic (or possibly uterine) sound track. Each projection has one element that remains unchanging as the shots of the dioramas scroll by: a plastic doll--a man in one and a woman in the other, presumably representing the artists--superimposed in the foreground, slumbering away in bed.
Thus it appears that the artists themselves are dreaming these scenes into existence. The images they conjure appear both intensely personal and politically current, drawing on intellectual and artistic developments such as psychoanalysis and Surrealism. In the nocturnal landscape, one scene slides into another, scale shifts, eras overlap, and the extraordinary is bracketed by the mundane. Jennifer's terror-inflected nightmare of the charred carcass of a bus sitting on a deserted highway near an apparently abandoned airplane is gradually invaded by a group of sprightly, oblivious golfers. Elsewhere, a dog standing on a dresser floats through a flooded post-Katrina landscape that morphs into a suburban swimming pool. Kevin's dreamscape, on the other hand, contains a war in what looks like the contemporary Middle East that is suddenly taken over by medieval Crusaders, and the dreamer's vulnerability is evinced through such anxiety-inducing/delightful situations as finding himself a tiny student towered over by what look like gorgeous Amazonian teachers. At one point, a large door appears in the woods, evoking the passage from one state to another. …