The Solutio as a way of dislodging stuck complexes; the Soluto is linked to chemical liquefaction. All that is stuck is put in solution to allow movement. The personal ego is dissolved into its constituent psychic elements by the sulphurous waters of the collective unconscious. Water is both an alchemical element, and a component in the process of the Solutio. Dreams about the Solutio often involve waterfalls, tsunami waves, oceans, and being pulled into water.
Pencil with gesso on paper
8 ½ ft. by 13 ½
The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
The Waterfall Series
In 1972 my life went through a profound change. After years of alcoholism I quit drinking and entered psychoanalysis. My analyst showed me a series of 17 th century Chinese paintings of literati sitting by waterfalls, and told me the waterfall was symbolic of the phase of life in which I found myself. Flowing water, flowing emotion, tears in torrents, I cried every day, the tears became waterfalls. The water was also a symbol of the unconscious, and the first of the four elements. My first waterfall was sold to the National Gallery of Australia in 1973. Two of the waterfalls were shown in the 1975 Whitney Annual, as women were emerging in the art world.
“Upon those who step into the same rivers different and again different waters flow.”
The water changed, the waterfalls flowed into lakes, and the lakes into oceans. Hereclitus’ doctrine of flux, is key to creativity. I felt caught in this river and was and not sure where it was taking me in my early twenties.
In the therapeutic cycle solutio explores major transitions from one life period to another, and may come back at different times in the life of a person. Images of the Solutio include swimming, baths, drowning, and baptism. One such dream produced the work, Bathing the Leprous Mother in the Waters of the Jordan River. This work is discussed in greater detail in the section on the Mad Mother Series. By bathing in the Jordan river I was in the soup of my negative mother complex whish needed to be dissolved.
Washing the Leprous Mother in the Jordan River
Pencil and watercolor and gold paint on paper on canvas
9 by 14 ft.