Tom Singer

Journeys of the Imagination

In this edition of ARAS Connections we feature articles about three extraordinary artists: Millie Kutz, Steven Coleman, and Remedios Varo. The articles are linked by at least two primary themes:

 1. Each of the articles focuses on journeys of the imagination, sometimes as a way to escape reality, sometimes as a source of healing and spiritual development and sometimes as both. In each, the imaginal journey comes as a response to tremendous stress, both inner and outer. In all three, the artists are seeking a life-line and a source of renewal through the imagination. In the first two, the COVID pandemic stopped outer life in its tracks—of Millie Kutz as a senior in high school and of Steve Coleman as the set designer of his beloved Throckmorton Theatre.  In the third paper, cultural restrictions and The Spanish Civil War and World War 2 created enormously difficult circumstances for Remedios Varo.

 2. Secondly, one can see a developmental movement from one article to the next, each imaginal journey coming in the service of the needs of an individual in various stages of the life cycle and, in one case, in the life of an organization. 

An imaginal journey in youth

Millie Kutz is a young artist of enormous talent and vision. She created her imaginal journey during COVID and later reflected on the process in interviews with Jean Kirsch and Tom Singer. Her imagination served as a lifeline and commentary on her relationship to technology in a time of isolation and overwhelming stress.

An imaginal journey in mid-life of an individual and an organization

Steve Coleman is a set designer and artist in mid-life who harnessed his extraordinary skills of craftsmanship and vision to provide a lifeline for his Mill Valley, California Throckmorton Theatre that had been stopped dead in its tracks by COVID. He shared his journey with Tom Singer who participated in the creative act by bringing his own imaginal world to the process.

An imaginal journey in older age

Finally, we follow Remedios Varo’s journey of individuation as an older artist facing the final stages of life. Her journey is beautifully portrayed through the seasoned eyes of Mary Wells Barron who has elucidated the unfolding symbolic iconography of Varo’s extraordinary imaginal journal.

Welcome to this edition’s multifaceted journeys of the imagination.