Creative Spirits 2022 Exhibition

Presenting art and photography by 100 mediums, dreamers and visionaries from the past 165 years, Creative Spirits was a triumph!

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

The College of Psychic Studies' 2022 autumn exhibition, Creative Spirits, celebrated art as an interface between the physical and liminal. The exhibition, curated by College Archivist & Curator Vivienne Roberts and College Principal Gill Matini, showed a diverse collection of art, sculpture and photography created by 100 mediums, dreamers and visionaries from 1856 to the present day. It spanned 14 rooms across six floors of the College, and invited us on an extraordinary voyage of discovery and wonder. 

Ithell Colquhoun, Grace Pailthorpe, Justin Duerr

The artworks, sculptures and artefacts in Creative Spirits expressed the ineffable in startling and unique ways. Many visitors commented on a special quality that infused the show - a quality that uplifted and expanded the mind into new terrains of wonder and possibility. As one of our visitors commented: 'Simply wandering through and taking it all in is an enlightening experience!'

Paintings by Ethel le Rossignol

 A striking emphasis of Creative Spirits was on visionary women. An entire room was dedicated to the etheric drawings of one of the founding members of the College, Anna Mary Howitt Watts. Filling another room were Ethel Le Rossignol's gilded masterpieces. 

Paintings by Anna Mary Howitt

Elsewhere were six paintings by celebrated artist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988), kindly loaned to us by Dr Richard Shillitoe, who presented a talk on the artist as part of the Creative Spirits events programme. There was also a watercolour by Dr Grace Pailthorpe (1883-1971) and a very rare painting by Moina Mathers (1865-1928, of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn fame) - it's a lost treasure that hasn't been seen since it was exhibited in Paris in 1903 at the Salon d'Automne.

Paintings by Ithell Colquhoun, Madge Gill and Anna Zemankova

The show was ambitious in presenting an incredible range works, from drawings of minute detail to immense oil-painted canvases. Another aspect of the show was the diversity of artists from around the world. 

Artworks by Alma Rumball, Josefa Tolra and Cecilie Markova

There were works by Czech artists Anna Zemánková (1908-1986) and Cecilie Marková (1911-1998), Catalan artist Josefa Tolrà (1880-1959), and Scottish artist Benjamin Creme (1922-2016), among many others.

Benjamin Creme painting

Contemporary artists included Margot from France and Christian Román from Argentina, Justin Duerr and Frances Smokowski from USA, Akio Kontani from Japan, and Katja Tschährä from Finland.

A highlight that brought many visitors back for repeat visits was the room dedicated to Finnish artist Aleksandra Ionowa (1899-1980). Dubbed Finland's Hilma af Klint, 56 of Ionowa's drawings were on display here for the first time outside of Finland, kindly loaned to the College by The Ionowa Society and Ionowa Foundation. 

The Aleksandra Ionowa room

The effect of her dramatic drawings lining the walls (including the portrait of Helena Blavatsky - below, top centre) was certainly arresting. Alongside her drawings, a film offered rare glimpses into the extraordinary way in which she worked.

drawings by Aleksandra Ionowa

The show also celebrated many contemporary artists. British artist Julia Oak's otherworldly spirit drawings were displayed in one room, while works by Aradne, Sean Jefferson and Cathy Ward were featured in neighbouring rooms. Additionally, the winner's of our previous art competitions - Emma Schultz and Cara Macwilliam – were on display. We feel honoured to be championing such talented artists.

Julia Oak, Cara Macwilliam, Chris Neate, Allen Moore o2o

So many of you came to explore Creative Spirits, and we enjoyed greeting familiar faces, and welcoming new ones. We would like to thank everyone who visited the show and supported us. We are honoured to be part of such a generous-spirited community, and look forward to welcoming you to future exhibitions. See you at the next one!

Alan Davie painting

Love the Creative Spirits artwork below? It's by our very own admin assistant, Cadanse Dickenson! 

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