A History of Women Mystic Artists: Ritual, Channeling & Healing
With Natalie Labriola
Including artists: Ithell Colquhoun, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Ana Mendieta, Betye Saar, CA Conrad, Emma Kunz, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Lygia Clark, Guo Fengyi, Hildegard von Bingen, Herrad of Landsburg, Georgiana Houghton, Hilma af Klint, Agnes Pelton, and Pamela Coleman Smith.
June 26th 5:00pm – 7:00pm PST
*All lectures are recorded, should you not be able to make it live.
This class will look at the history of women mystic artists spanning the Medieval period to the 20th century through the lens of three different themes: Ritual, Healing, and Channeling. In a time of global upheaval, it is more important than ever to return to fundamental questions: who are we, what is the nature of our connection to each other, and to the universe in which we live?
The history of mysticism in art offers profound insights and approaches to these queries. The artists discussed have varying relationships to mysticism, but an important through-line is found in each one: in contrast to the mechanistic worldview that has been at the forefront of Western science, technology and philosophy since the Enlightenment, mysticism (for the purposes of this class) can be understood as a way of being which grants subjectivity (and therefore inherent intelligence) to the universe and everything in it.
Mysticism in art — especially by women — has often been minimized, ignored, or rejected by dominant art historical narratives, and so this class seeks to foreground each artist’s relationship with mysticism as important to their lives and their works. We will chart how these artists, through their engaging and complex works, reject the pervasive contemporary notion that mystical artwork cannot also be intellectually, politically, and socially engaged.
I will also be joined by contemporary artists for conversations on how these themes relate to their work and lives.
We will look at artists whose approach to art-making involved ritual, whether as a means to create the artwork or as an end in and of itself. We will study artists who drew on practices rooted in specific traditions of ritual magic, those who invented their own personal practices, or some combinations of the two. Artists covered include Ithell Colquhoun, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Ana Mendieta, Betye Saar, and CA Conrad.
We will look to the history of female mystics whose artworks were made either to help to facilitate healing for themselves, to directly heal others, or to look at the therapeutic potential for healing in artwork generally. We will cover the works of Emma Kunz, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Lygia Clark, and Guo Fengyi.
We will look at artists whose approach to art-making was fueled by a co-creative practice with the divine. Artists covered in this section are those whose visionary visual works were created through channeling. We will study their varying approaches (seances, mediumship, meditation, and more) to gain a better understanding of how their artworks emerged in co-creation with the invisible forces that shaped their work. Artists covered are Hildegard von Bingen, Herrad of Landsburg, Georgiana Houghton, Hilma af Klint, Agnes Pelton, and Pamela Coleman Smith.
Natalie Labriola (b. 1987) is a multi-disciplinary visual artist whose work embodies her interest and practice of different occult traditions and healing modalities. From 2012-2015 she ran an off-hours exhibition space called Satellite Space out of a commercial office designed as a command center. In 2017 she created Talis, a clothing line for psychic protection and related projects. She received her Masters of Fine Art from Bard College in 2015. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.
IMAGE: ANA MENDIETA, CREEK, 1974 © THE ESTATE OF ANA MENDIETA COLLECTION, LLC. COURTESY GALERIE LELONG & CO.