Turning to Art for Spiritual Sustenance

Hayley Barker, “Astrology” (2020), oil on linen, 25.25 by 20.25 inches (image courtesy Bozo Mag and private collection)

LOS ANGELES — In a year of massive layoffs, outcries against systemic racism, and our first official global pandemic, it is little wonder that some may be looking beyond the material world and seeking spiritual sustenance, even in the usually secular art world. Increasing global economic and political uncertainty — and not to mention the ongoing reality of climate change, which remains impervious to human calamity — has given new meaning and resonance to one of fire-and-brimstone preachers’ favorite topics: the apocalypse. If indeed the end is not near, it certainly seems near.

As per usual, art reflects the context from which it emerges. While there had already been a growing trend toward exhibitions exploring spirituality in art (see: Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim, which became the museum’s most-visited exhibition ever), discussions around art as a spiritual practice appear to be ever more salient and pertinent, particularly among certain Angeleno artists.

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