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To Kiss The Spirits: Now This Is What It Is Really Like

Close up of To Kiss The Spirits: Now This Is What It Is Really Like

Set against a black, starry nightime sky above a group of houses, a glowing spiral staircase ascends through the center of the painting. A tiny female figures climbs the staircase, transforming as she goes, her raised arms transform into wings as she finally flies off above the town.

Hollis Sigler, To Kiss The Spirits: Now This Is What It Is Really Like, 1993; Oil on canvas with painted frame, 66 x 66 x 3 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Promised Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in memory of the artist; © Hollis Sigler

To Kiss The Spirits: Now This Is What It Is Really Like
Hollis Sigler

Hollis Sigler favored subjects related to women’s experiences of love, family, and the domestic sphere. She often conjured up intimate interiors, suburban backyards, or vacation hideaways in which household objects or a shadow figure she called “the Lady” serve as stand-ins for real people. In the last fifteen years of her career, Sigler focused on the subject of breast cancer, which she battled until her death in 2001 at age 53. This painting may represent Sigler’s hopeful vision of the culmination of life’s physical, psychological, and emotional journey. As a figure (or figures)  ascends a central staircase bathed in celestial light, her raised arms transform into wings.

Sigler adopted her appealing faux naïf painting style (one that identifies with the naïve or untrained approach practiced by self-trained artists) partly as a means to encourage viewers to engage with the emotional content of her works. Much of Sigler’s art centering on cancer focuses on the statistics, treatments, fears, rages, and uncertainties surrounding the disease. To Kiss the Spirits seems to offers a lyrical, uplifting vision of a woman who achieves a long-awaited state of grace.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Hollis Sigler
  • Title

    To Kiss The Spirits: Now This Is What It Is Really Like
  • Date

    1993
  • Medium

    Oil on canvas, Painted frame
  • Dimensions

    66 x 66 x 3 in
  • Donor Credit

    Promised Gift of Steven Scott, Baltimore, in memory of the artist
  • Photo Credit

    © Hollis Sigler
  • On Display

    No