IlaSahai Prouty has become a “dream instigator,” and her efforts in this sphere will be unveiled in a new show called “Dream Repeater: Toys Falling,” opening at Flatrocks Gallery.

This is a group show, in which artist Prouty took on the role of curator, inviting others to work with her on this idea of the power of dreams and their amplification when repeated in various media. A free opening reception is Saturday, Aug. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m.

In her on-going project Dream Repeater, Prouty creates artworks based on bits of collected dream narratives. She has taken the oral tradition of sharing stories, and retells them through an artistic context. The evolution of the duplication of a dream becomes a narrative of its own.

“I collect dreams anonymously, and people donate dreams to me. I find people like to tell me their dreams in person because they can relive it,” she said. “I pick a dream to work with in an ongoing way. I started to do this project because I became interested in collaborating with other people and thinking about dreams as small stories.”

Prouty, who grew up in Lanesville, was former chair of the art department at Waring School in Beverly. She earned a master’s of fine arts from the California College of Art in San Francisco, and is resident artist at the Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She also works as an assistant professor at nearby Appalachian State University.

Last summer, Prouty’s Dream Repeater work, “Goldilocks, Save the World,” was installed at Cape Ann Museum’s White Ellery House. This summer, she returns to her hometown to present this collection of works based on a dream called “Toys Falling.”

“The dream was donated anonymously by someone on Cape Ann, so I guess it’s possible that the original dreamer might come to the show,” she said.

This is the dream narrative the artists were asked to work with: “Toys are falling slowly around me. They are old and familiar. I recognize each one and I watch them floating slowly down. At some point, I realize that the same toy is in the same spot as it was before. The toys repeat, over and over. As I watch, they come round and again. Then I see they aren’t piling up around me. There should be heaps of toys all around me but there aren’t. I watch the pattern.”

Prouty said the works in the Flatrocks Gallery show are radically different from each other and reincarnated into many formats. The show includes sculpture, painting, encaustic, illustration, mixed media, poetry, video, printmaking, quilting, and story telling.

Participating artists are: Caroline Bagenal, Rocky Delforge, Adriane Herman, Bo Hyung Lee, Vicki Paret, Doris Prouty, Hans Pundt, Sarah Slifer Swift, Stephanie Williams, Heather Atwood, Emily Wheeler, Tim Averill, Peter Hickman and Prouty.

“I’m fascinated with repetition and how it has the ability to intensify experience and create significance, even as each repetition drifts from the original,” wrote Prouty in an artist statement. “I collect vivid and repeating dreams from others then create repetitions of them in various ways. I write the dreams, I retell them, I reenact them, and invite others to adopt them.”

Each time she retells a dream or makes another version of it, she said she builds another layer to expand the power of the dream.

“Repetition is everywhere in our daily lives, from waking each day to making some coffee. We build ritual and meaning out of everyday repetition. I am working with this kernel to exploit the power of stories and build myths,” she wrote in her artist statement.

The show celebration continues on Aug. 10 with an evening of poetry and stories at 7 p.m. at the gallery at 77 Langsford St. (Route 127) in Gloucester. For more information, visit, or

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or

Recommended for you