Thursday, 8 September 2016


The gang at Hyperallergic take another field trip to a museum exhibition—this time to see the ink and watercolour abstract paintings of Georgiana Houghton in London. These swirling scrolls strike me as very modern and surreal—almost like the visions of electric sheep in Deep Dreaming but less nightmarish—but were produced in Victorian times, with Houghton’s brush acting as a medium for the missives of angles and saints or sometimes channeling old masters.
Far ahead of her time, the reception of the public was confused at best as the works went against all the accepted artistic conventions of the time—despite the strong interest in spiritualism and sรฉances in England at the time. Although largely forgotten and overshadowed, awareness of Houghton’s contributions and insight is again gathering notice. Clairvoyance in the context of the paranormal or extra-sensory perception simply means “clarity of vision” but there are terms for all the senses plus intuition (claircognisance): clairsentience—psychic through feel and touch to include knowing an object’s provenance and future just by holding it, clairofactus—psychic through smell, clairaudience—psychic through hearing noises or voices, and clairgustance—psychic through taste. I wonder if there were psychic chefs back in Victorian times, as well.