Donna Dennis


Set in an arena of darkness, Coney Night Maze is a complex sculptural installation with sound that draws inspiration from the maze of layered fences, gates, ramps and barriers that nestled among the I-beams and columns of the underside of the Cyclone roller coaster. Representing over a decade of labor, some of it under the shadow of 9/11, it continues themes present from the beginning of my career: each work  has attempted to create a sense of place representing a point of passage on a metaphorical journey through life, the exploration of realignments that allow for a shift of consciousness.  As I completed Coney Night Maze I saw that this piece was different. With its track that ascends and then descends, skimming the edge of an ancient rock wall, it begins to suggest the shape of the whole journey.

The gouaches and dioramas created since I completed Coney Night Maze take this one step further. They are explorations about what it means to be in the final phase, the final journey in life.  I am keenly aware that my own time, at 72, is limited.  The night sky especially since 9/11, has come increasingly into my life. All of these more recent works involve depictions of the night sky. When my young friend, Laura, died last fall, I found myself trying hard to understand where all of that energy and spirit that was Laura could have gone. The first gouache in the series looks quite frantic to me as the little house with its tube projections attempts to connect with the stars. Subsequent gouaches suggest more direction. My next installation grows out of these dioramas and gouaches I have created since Coney Night Maze.