On September 4, 2012, The Arts at CIIS unveiled a 40-foot long mural entitled Grief Path, by Bay Area-based artist, Patter Hellstrom. In this project Hellstrom traces the last four years of her life, marked by significant personal losses of some of those closest to her. Informed by her own Judeo-Christian upbringing, balanced against a deep interest in Buddhist principles, the artist maps the emotional, psychological and cognitive dimensions of grief, as they’re experienced through time. What are the navigational tools on a grief path? The gestural, calligraphic brushstrokes applied over the rationalized pencil grid reflect the emotional immediacy of each moment.

Patter Hellstrom’s influences and material choices range widely, from Buddhism and calligraphic brushwork, to Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism, and from sumi brushes to house brooms and broad old-fashioned wall-paper paste brushes. To achieve her lush, translucent, and emotionally evocative washes with the viscosity required to work upright on a wall at this scale, she used low VOC house paints from the hardware store.

Cedric Pilard, of Story-Eyed Media produced this piece tracing the development of Hellstrom’s Grief Path, on view at the California Institute of Integral Studies through the end of 2012.

California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street, 3rd floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

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