The inspiration for the series SHE comes from the poem Thunder, Perfect Mind. It’s an ancient poem, a monologue built on stanzas and spoken in the voice of a feminine divine power that lays bare the dualism we are trapped within so long as the consciousness remains asleep. This poem may have been written in Egypt during the First century, probably by somebody who knew the traditions of Isis and the divine Sophia.
When I first became aware of Thunder, Perfect Mind, I was immediately intrigued by the power of the text and the mystery of its paradoxes. I knew that I wanted to make a visual response to those stanzas.
This body of work, influenced by Christian iconography, portrays the female, her identity as divine and human, and her concern with illusion and enlightenment. I have created images that are echoes, echoes that ripple from antiquity to the present. Some images are paired with my favorite stanzas from Thunder, Perfect Mind. Some images stand alone, allowing the viewer to fill in their own narrative to the work, which is experiential like the poem.
"Gustafson’s imagery is arcane, obscure, relaying powers that are hard to describe." Alexander Castro, Newport Daily News