Outer Space and the Cosmos

Hood’s deep thirst for knowledge carried her in many directions. Her study of philosophy led her down one path and her observations of the natural world another. She also held a fascination for the cosmos. This is apparent in her series of drawings from the early 1960s, Spaces of the Mind’s Eye, exploring as she put it, the “gravitational forces of the psyche in outer space,” wherein outer space symbolized the unconscious mind.
This longstanding interest in the cosmos intensified and coalesced when she moved back to her home state of Texas in 1962. At the time, Texas was at the forefront of space exploration and travel with the establishment in 1961 of NASA’s Lydon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. Hood explains, ‘Through the missions in space, my consciousness has been further enlarged by another way that our land has been viewed. Looking at our piece of territory, as though from the Landsat views of the earth, divided into spaces, shapes, and colors, I see a similarity to my own work, as though in painting I am viewing Texas from that distance, and our own contribution to the earth in the balance of its orbit.’ These ideas about space and the cosmos continued to occupy Hood into and throughout the 1970s, some inspired by the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, as she created numerous large-scale paintings featuring monumental galaxies with thrusting bolts cutting their swaths as in Blue Thrust, 1970s, and Copper Signal, 1977.

Earth Bound Heaven, 1963
Earth Bound Heaven, 1963 Oil on canvas 70 1/8 x 50 inches Collection of the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi 2014.16.38

Earth Bound Heaven, 1963