The Void and Inner Worlds

A throughline throughout her body of work is Hood’s connection to her psyche. Her early study of Greek mythology, Eastern philosophy, world religions, and spirituality, along with exposure to the works of Surrealist artists such as Leonora Carrington, Max Ernst, and Yves Tanguy, coalesced into an intense desire to explore inner worlds within her work. This vein continued up through the end of her career, reinforced by her multiple trips to India in the 1990s, where she sought the spiritualism of the Hindu religion and culture as she faced her mortality. Likening herself to a modern relative of painters James Ensor and Odilon Redon, Hood stated, “I allude to and question the unknowable both in myself and in the workings of the universe. I engage in that unseen drama by means of abstract paintings, thus painting the mind’s inner world in contrast to the outer world of realism.”
Hood distilled these ideas into a concept she called, the “Void.” Detailing her thoughts about the Void in a 1980 article for Art Journal, Hood explained, “The ultimate symbol for art is the symbol of the immeasurable, the Void. The Void is the end place of all correspondence in the mind, wherein function multiple mirrors and switchboards, revealers of their own inviolable truth on a level usually made inaccessible by dogma and delusion. This silent space in the mind’s eye is related to the nonverbal state of painting. It is there that knowledge passes into a further ordering; there that the neutrons of the brain know what they know, beyond daily sensuous information and dialogue. In the end, within the Void, is true memory. The psyche, that mute, measuring relative of the Void, is forever active and creating.”
Striving to evoke the Void, Hood’s drawings and paintings revel in enigmatic symbols that she never explained. For her, they were investigations into the depths of her mind, filtered through her experiences and knowledge of the world—from mythology to nature, birth to death. From her early Surrealist-inspired drawings which evoked war or emotional wounds from her childhood to her evocative and sublime abstractions of the 1970s and beyond that feature literal void-like shapes, Hood plumbs her psyche while creating mysterious works that blend realism and abstraction to allow for each viewer to bring their own interpretations.

Space of the Mind’s Eye, 1961
Space of the Mind’s Eye, 1961 Ink on paper 20 x 26 inches Collection of the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi 2014.16.13

Space of the Mind’s Eye, 1961