Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future

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Measuring almost eleven feet tall by eight feet wide, Hilma af Klint's "Group IV, The Ten Largest, No. 1, Childhood" (1907) is reproduced from Paintings for the Future, a staff pick for Women's History Month, and a fitting collection of images for these complicated times. "The cycle focuses on the stages of life and humanity's connection to the universe," curator Tracey Bashkoff writes. "The mix of floral, geometric, and biomorphic forms with letters and inverted words creates a vocabulary of complex and shifting meanings, with which af Klint herself appears to have grappled. In these works a plant tendril may become a spiral, which in turn unfolds into a coiling line that then scribes a calligraphic letter—codes and words from an unknown language. Two pulsing orbs are, at the same time, microscopic eggs and intersecting solar systems. These forms continue to evade singular or stable interpretations—evolution, continuity, growth and progress all coexist with a return to the beginning of the oneness of the spirit. Science and spirit, mind and matter, the micro and the macro are simultaneously present."