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Not sure where to post this, apologies if it doesn't fit here. I'd like to discuss artists (especially women) whose process includes spirit contact - either that we know of or that we can sense powerfully.

I'll start with probably the most well-known. Hilma af Klint was a Swedish painter at the turn of the century. She's frequently referred to as "the first modern/abstract painter", although her art hadn't been seen by anyone but a few of her contemporaries until very recently. Af Klint was a Theosophist and a spiritualist, so of course her world was full of spirits.
Her major opus, the Temple paintings, were channelled - in her understanding, her contacts painted through her. They're meant to embody complex ideas that were transmitted to her. These paintings are her most famous, and for good reason: it's hard to put into words the powerful sense of presence they open. For one, they're monumental. The sheer size of tem has a very perceptible effect on your body as a viewer.
Af Klint's art was underappreciated and misunderstood even by her more iconoclastic contemporaries, such as Rudolf Steiner. So she put them away and left them to a family member, with instructions not to open and show them until at least 20 years after her death. In a fascinating story, this is the thing that strikes me the most: the relationship to time in her life and work. Drawn from the past, for the future, forever delayed and displaced. Asynchronicity as an art and way of life.
To me, this is an interesting parallel to the path of the witch.art-hilma-af-klint-group-x-nos-1-3-altar

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Very beautiful work, indeed.  Yesterday I was looking at Spirit Art and it seems to me that it came from the same Time period as when Spiritualism was very popular.  The art I was looking at was done by Automatic Writing, also by a Woman.  Sorry I cannot provide a reference.

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That sounds very interesting, Onyx, but what is Spirit Art? A specific gallery or artist name, perhaps? I'd love to know more!

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Here is another artist who co-creates with spirits and whom I find very interesting.

You may know Alkistis Dimech as one half of the occult press Scarlet Imprint. Dimech is also a dancer trained in buto: she has an interesting, magically relevant way of describing this art form as an exploration of the body to give form to Images. She places the body - a repository of knowledge both ancestral and personal, and thus a bridge to the mysteries, an eminently permeable synthesis of self and Other - at the center of her art and her witchcraft, which are inextricable. Dimech uses dance, and movement in general, to make room for spirits, through invocation and ritual possession.

Here is an example of her work :

Her website, which hosts a few of her essays.

A short interview about one of her magical possessions, which is a good introduction to some of her ideas.

 

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The Spirit Art I am refering to is also called Automatic writting and the lady was called Mrs. Honywood.  You can find it if you Google Spirit Art, mrs. Honywood.  She said she was drawing peoples Souls.

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On 11/20/2020 at 2:33 AM, Onyx said:

The Spirit Art I am refering to is also called Automatic writting and the lady was called Mrs. Honywood.  You can find it if you Google Spirit Art, mrs. Honywood.  She said she was drawing peoples Souls.

Thank you for leading me down this rabbit hole, Onyx, this woman and her circle of artist/medium friends are fascinating! It's exactly what Hilma af Klint and her Theosophist friends did, only even earlier. They too painted with spirits, and as a result, they too explored art forms previously unseen, that we later - decades later, when men such as Kandisky and Mondrian picked it up in turn and exhibited it publicly - came to call 'abstract'.

Here are examples of Barbara Honywood's work, for those curious:

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I find it beautiful, both delicate and exuberant. It may not look like much but it's distinctly original - this was painted in the mid 19th century!

I'm even more taken with her fellow Spiritualist painter friend Georgiana Houghton, though:

19-Glory-be-to-God.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

It's astounding. We had to wait a full century, with the advent of psychedelic art, to see such movement in paintings again. She must have been tapping into a very powerful current.

As I was looking up these artists, I came across an interesting quote in this article:

Quote

At the same time it is clear, with hindsight, that when Victorian women in the spiritualist movement – Georgiana Houghton and Barbara Honywood, for example – drew messages from the beyond, they were releasing their own gifts for which there was no other outlet.

The absolute certainty with which the writer draws his "conclusion" is extremely funny to me. He's so close to the point though.

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I am a huge fan of Aubrey Beardsley's style of art.  I did not realise that he was a spiritualist, but he does fit into the Victorian timeframe.  Thanks for the links, they have been very interesting.

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On 11/22/2020 at 9:02 PM, Onyx said:

I am a huge fan of Aubrey Beardsley's style of art.  I did not realise that he was a spiritualist, but he does fit into the Victorian timeframe.  Thanks for the links, they have been very interesting.

Wow I haven't heard that name in a while - love his art as well! I think it's fair to assume that every mid to late Victorian we know of was some shade of Spiritualist haha, although I had no idea he was either. I wonder to what extent his Spiritualist practice impacted his art though, have you read anything? I don't personally sense that 'revealed' quality in his work the way I do in other artists', some of whom I've talked about here, but I may just be missing something. If he didn't use mediumship in his art, though, that may be because the role of medium tended to be assumed by women, and so Spiritualist men had little direct spirit contact.

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I have several books of Aubrey Beardsley's art.  The Lysistrata of Aristophanes, Le Morte D'Arthur,  The Rape of the Lock,  The Early Work of Aubrey Beardsley and The Later work  of Aubrey Beardsley.  So you can tell that I am quite a Fan!  I just love his use of line.   Nothing in these books suggest that he was a Spiritualist.

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Oooh I think I understand the confusion - he's mentioned in an article I've linked earlier but I confess I scanned it for mentions of Houghton et al so I was struck with that quote but I discarded the rest. Beardsley is mentioned indeed but not as a mediumnistic artist, just as a point of comparison for what the author sees as A.O. Spare's "depravity" (lol)

Edited by spectropoetics

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Not a problem, the mention of his name made me go on a memory tour.  I still have my books from when I fell in love with his style.  Beardsley made me want to draw.

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