Cover to Cover – Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap has occupied my creative thoughts for nearly two years, not an unusual amount of time when developing a body of work. For me this topic was one that I joyfully embraced as I have been focused on women artists and gender issues in art for many years. I am also fascinated by the role of abstraction – for me both areas are linked as they are often side-lined or marginalised within the central canon of western art.

A few years ago, my daughter gave me a delightful book, Women in Art – 50 Fearless Creatives who Inspired the World, by Rachel Ignotofsky. The message is loud and clear- art shapes and reflects our world; the stories and art made by these women influence our lives.

It has been a nonstop roller coaster of inspiration since those early readings and my subsequent discovery of Hilma af Klint (1862 -1944). I have listened to lectures about her work, read articles and followed discussions re af Klint’s work. Little did I know at the time that in 2023 Hilma af Klint would be part of a major exhibition at Tate Modern. I was able to attend on the second day!

Hilma af Klint – Visionary is an anthology that accompanied the 2018 Guggenheim exhibition of af Klint’s work and has been enlightening in understanding her work within the context of spiritualism, abstraction, women artists and so on.

As ideas for my work developed, so my research returned to my long-standing love and identification with abstraction. I began to form a link between the slow acceptance of abstract art and the tenuous steps women artists have made through the ages. Hilma herself recognised that her abstract work was ahead of its time and requested it be stored for forty years after her death. It was nearly sixty years before she came to the notice of the established art world. 

In my journey over the last year, I have loved getting to know Hilma and several other prominent women artists. At the beginning of this year a close friend introduced me to Spiral Dynamics and finally several pieces fell into place. This theory with its defined colour palette and themed stages has been the perfect link between my different strands of research. Despite its rather intense language, Spiral Dynamics by Don Edward Beck and Christopher C Cowan has been a fascinating if not challenging read.  Inspired by Hilma af Klint’s spirituality,(she referred to herself as a mystic and an artist), I am now reading The Awakened Brain, The Psychology of Spirituality, by Lisa Millar. As the work for Bridging the Gap begins to take shape, I reflect on how much I have gained on this creative journey.

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