“Father, O Father, what do we here,
In this land of unbelief and fear?
The Land of Dreams is better far
Above the light of the morning star.”
This excerpt from 19th-century English Romantic poet and painter William Blake’s “The Land of Dreams” directly influenced the title and encapsulates the aesthetic of Alexandra Eldridge’s current exhibition, “The Land of Dreams is Better Far.” Blake prioritized imagination over reality when creating his work, and Eldridge shares his belief that artistic inspiration should stem from inner visions rather than the outside world. Eldridge is a devout follower of Blake’s teachings and even co-founded a commune based on his philosophies in the late 1960s. Blake’s poetic ideologies are a consistent presence in Eldridge’s paintings, which act as tangible remnants of the artist’s soul experiences.
Eldridge’s paintings are poetic visions that invite us into otherworldly realms existing only in the outer edges of our consciousness. The artist states that imagination is “the only real and eternal world,” and her mixed-media paintings take us on an enchanting journey to this mystical place. Eldridge achieves dream-like illusions without losing control over her compositions, which are layered with Venetian plaster and seamlessly collaged with maps, letters and vintage photographs. Just like in our dreams, recurring symbols such as birds, eggs, wolves, or lines of sacred geometry consistently appear throughout her work. A scrawled poem or handwritten postcard is equivocally revealed through layers of pigmented plaster, leaving the viewer searching for the painting’s intended narrative. Eldridge’s myths, however, remain as mysterious as the place “above the light of the morning star.”
See Eldridge's exhibition at Nüart Gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe through June 11th.