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I’m not much of a fan of abstract art, but I’ve just discovered an abstract artist whose work I adore. Huge canvases in colors simultaneously delicate and bold, with motifs geometric yet also somehow natural. These are enigmatic paintings, vaguely scientific, hinting at the secret world of atoms and molecules; but also organic, suggestive of flowers and jellyfish and other beautiful oddities of flora and fauna. There is duality in these images, and wisdom. Rather miraculously, this body of work is both rational and spiritual at the same time. The whole universe seems to be contained herein, all its wonders and mysteries. I’m astonished by the beauty of these works, and deeply moved and inspired by them like I never have been before by abstract imagery.

Oddly enough, the entire world is only just discovering this artist, even though she has been dead for almost 80 years. How is that even possible? The clue is in the pronoun: she. Swedish visionary Hilma af Klint was a pioneering artist who was way ahead of her time. She didn’t merely create stunning works of abstract art: she invented abstract art. Her first abstract canvas is dated 1906, four years before Wassily Kandinsky’s, who is still generally considered the earliest abstract painter. Continue reading…

EDITOR’S NOTE: Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for April 17, 2020

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).