I have spoken before about Anne Brigman’s,“The Bubble” a mysterious image of a female nude, in a cave, creating and launching a bubble on a mythic stream. Interestingly, the light comes enigmatically from the left as if there were some hidden and unseen illuminating power.
Anne Brigman (1869-1950), was a member and practioner of the photo-secession, is famous for heavily reworked negatives and a pictoralist sense of our allegorical tradition. There are references to myths that are deeply engrained in our psyches, such as that of the mother goddess. The bubble, which appears in several of Brigman’s works, evokes the ovum from which we are all born. The river is not only the birth canal but the river of life on which we must all journey.
Then too there is the classical imagery of the renaissance. We are reminded of Leonardo’s (or presumptively Leonardo’s) Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World), where the Christ holds in his hand a crystal orb, representative of the cosmos or the universe.
I find that there is a very special and profound sense of solitude that I achieved when I encounter Brigman’s work in a quiet gallery. It is the best way to see them. I find myself studying the forms and allusions reflectively. It is for that reason that I count “The Bubble” among my favorite images.