Reviews of “Art from Dreams” by Susan Levin

From “The Dream Well”
By Amy Campion
Writer, Speaker, Coach and Trainer

Amy Campion Headshot for Art from Dreams by Susan Levin

There are books about art, and there are books about dreams, but there are very few books that seek to knowingly bridge the gap in being a book about both dreams and art. One might argue Jung did this with Liber Novus (the Red Book) and that Blake paved the way with his mystic visionary work, each using artistic expression as an integral part of the process of accessing a deeper knowledge not only of the Self, but of the wider world, even the World Soul.

While many artists have been inspired by their dreams, in her new book “Art from Dreams,” Susan Levin seeks to consciously reveal her dreams through her visual and written art. This results in both a process and product that is at once deeply personal and self reflective, whilst also exposing the symbolic references that speak to us collectively. It is the deliberate Jungian inspired mining of the subconscious, and the transparency of approach that makes this book unusual.

Levin uses this book to “turn herself in” by exploring … {read more}

From “A Bookish Way of Life”
By Nadia A.
Book Blogger

A Bookish Way of Life for Art from Dreams by Susan Levin

I love poetry and art and anything creative that reflects someone’s internal thoughts, emotions, opinions. So, when I was offered the chance to review Susan Levin’s book, Art from Dreams, I jumped at the chance. How could I not? A book filled with poems and images of the artwork that resulted from Levin’s experience with a professional Jungian dream analyst and her dreams. I found myself utterly captivated by it all. The idea of how much our dreams can influence and inspire our creativity is fascinating. And just from looking through Levin’s book, I can see that she was deeply compelled to explore and examine her dreams. She was able to reflect her subconscious through images and words in such an artistically authentic manner. The items she chose to put in her assemblages do not merely represent themselves, but they also become a part of her narrative and take on a new identity. I loved this idea of re-purposing in her art.

I love the images we get from Levin and can see them running through her mind during her nighttime slumbers – they are so clearly reflected in these beautiful, thought-provoking pieces. From one piece to the next, you are able to get a peek into Levin’s personal world (past, present, and future). As for the poetry that accompanies the artwork in the first part of the book, they were written after each piece had been created. I’m in love with … {read more}

From “Path of Soul”
By Jenna Lilla
MA, PhD, BCC Board Certified Coach

Jenna Lilla Headshot for Art from Dreams by Susan Levin

The unconscious, like an artist, takes in discards and fragments of experience. The unconscious digests and cooks these fragments and produces dreams from them. In what may be our deepest soul’s instinct, we take in the raw ingredients of experience and we begin to cook them, to symbolize them, dream them, transform them. The uncooked stuff of life may become ‘symbols of transformation’ (Carl Jung, CW5). Our minds and our souls need the raw stuff of real life, we need the as yet undreamed, the fragmented bits of life and truth, to nourish our souls. The fragments may become the very ingredients of the soul’s transformation.

Artists of the soul develop the capacity to bring their dreaming into their waking lives; they consciously set about collecting old bones, found objects, fragments of psychic life. Such artists begin to dream the inner life of things. First they notice them; they notice what others do not notice, they notice the fragments and they then seek to reunite them in new wholes, new works, new dreams. Artists leave behind the ordered world of adaptation, with its exact measurements and precise ingredients, and they enter the ‘realm of the mothers,’ a realm of fragments, images, dreams, reveries (Jung, Cw5). In taking an imaginal journey into the ‘realm of the mothers’ the soulful artist begins to free associate and dream, creating new works of imagination.

Susan Levin is such an artist. In her book titled Art from Dreams, Susan Levin takes in the stuff or her raw experience and begins to cook and dream it. The book begins with an image … {read more}

From “Compass Dreamwork”
By Kirsten Backstrom
Dream Work Facilitator

Kirsten Backstrom - Headshot for Art from Dreams by Susan Levin

I am not a visual artist or art critic, and so my review is based on my personal taste and intuitive grasp of the artwork, and my experience with dreams and creative dreamwork. According to my personal taste, the mixed media collage/assemblages are appealing and intriguing. And because of my background in dreamwork and creativity, I am always interested in the relationship between dream imagery and artistic expression. The book, when I received it, was not a disappointment. Art From Dreams is beautifully made and invites lingering—with little text other than a brief introduction and foreword, followed by page after page of art pieces, some accompanied by corresponding poems.

Much of the artwork is reminiscent of Joseph Cornell: many pieces use found objects and/or collage; some pieces are framed within compartmented boxes of rough wood, some are free-standing or wall-mounted assemblages. Most of the materials appear aged, weathered, rusted, or worn. Darker colors predominate, with subtle shades of brown or gray providing the tone so the occasional lighter or brighter colors stand out sharply.

Dream ideas can be powerfully expressed through such forms, and the echo of these ideas in poetry can be hauntingly lovely. The poems are like lyrics to accompany dream music: sometimes telling a story, sometimes evoking only impressions. For the most part, Levin steers clear … {read more}