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Both the Ouspensky and the Nicoll books I had from Alice draw a distinction between what is called 'essence' and what is called 'personality.' To quote Nicoll:

 'As was said, a man is born as essence and this constitutes his real part, the part from which he can really grow and develop. But this part in him can only grow in a very small way. It has not the strength to grow by itself any further after, say, the age of three or four or five. Let us call this the first stage of a man ... Now in order for it to grow further something must happen. Something must form itself round essence and this is called personality. Essence must become surrounded by something that is really foreign to itself, acquired from life, which enters through the senses. A little child must cease to be itself and become something different from itself. As you were told, the centre of gravity of itself begins to pass from essence into personality. It learns all sorts of things, it imitates all sorts of things, and so on. This formation of personality around essence which is necessary for the development of essence can be called the second stage of man ... A man finds himself in a good position, able to deal with life through the formation of a rich personality in him. And if he is satisfied, he is, for all life purposes, adequate. But this work, this teaching, is about a further stage of man, and this stage I will call the third stage ... This third stage is all concerned with a possible further development of essence and that is why so many apparently paradoxical or at least strange things are said in the Gospels - such as are contained in the Sermon on the Mount - about man ... Let us suppose that personality is in a particular person very richly developed. He is, then, a rich man, in the sense of the Gospels. He knows about everything, he is an important person, and so on. What is poor in him? What is poor in him is his essence. He is not yet a real man ... He has got the finest house or jewels, he has got a well-known name, he has in some way got the better of everybody else, and yet he feels empty. Such a man is approaching the third possible stage of development. He has now reached a position in which his essence - namely, his real part - can grow, and thus replace his feeling of emptiness by a feeling of meaning. But in order to bring about in man this further development he must begin, as it were, to sacrifice his personality and to go in a sense in the opposite direction to that in which he has gone up to now. In other words, a kind of reversal must take place in him which is well-expressed in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and unless we understand that this third stage is possible and leads to a man's real development we will never understand what the Gospels are speaking about or what this system is speaking about.' (33)

(33) Maurice Nicoll: Psychological commentaries on the teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, London, Vincent Stuart, 1957, pp.3-4.

The job is to establish the domination of essence over personality. And here Cizek might come back into the picture.

According to Ruth Kalmar Wilson Cizek ran two classes for children, one for younger children, 'from three and a half to seven years, I would say. Our group was from eight to fourteen.' According to Viola:

'Prof. Cizek gives his greatest love to the three to seven year-olds. In a great capital like Vienna, the eight or nine year-old child is according to Cizek influenced by a thousand other things. In the very little ones, the really childlike, Cizek finds a wonderful world of pure creativeness uninfluenced by adults, free from all imitation and lies.'

He continues:

'Cizek goes so far as to say he regards perspective in the work of a small child as an unfailing sign of the lack of a gift for drawing. Why does the work of primitives appear to us so strong, despite the lack of perspective? Why do the works of the ancient Egyptians appear to us so strong? Because they are created according to the same laws as children's drawings ...'

Quoting Cizek directly:

'"Children's work contains in itself eternal laws of form. We have no art that is so direct as that of children. Even the old Egyptians are not stronger. In Egypt no one was allowed to break the laws of art. Everything there  was compulsory. But with children art comes naturally. A curse of our intellectual school is the usual loss of this art in adolescence ... Man is an image of God, only when he continues the creative work of God; then and only then, and not when he copies or imitates with inadequate media, because in any case he cannot do it as well as nature can ...'

Two More illustrations from Rochowanski's Jugendkunst, both p.63.
Rochowanski comments: 'On the top: a charcoal drawing. The tree with the birds and their nests grew completely out of the inner imagination. Below: a beautiful example of how children can compose a picture according to their own laws, unhindered by proportion and perspective.'

It seems to me that that comes close to the Ouspensky/Nicoll view that the very small child is possessed of a 'being' or 'essence' which is capable of development until it is overtaken by the imitative 'personality'. The job of the artist, then, following the direction given by Cizek or by Ouspensky/Nicoll, would be, overcoming the 'buffers' (Nicoll's word) created by the personality, to restore contact with this essence - Cizek's 'eternal laws' inscribed in human nature. Again quoting Cizek: 'With children of ten years of age who come to me from schools, where they have already been trained to copy, one cannot do other than prevent that this condition becomes still worse. One can try to lead some of the children back to themselves. That is one of the foundations of my "method"; to bring the child always back to himself.' And I think this is one way of understanding what Alice was trying to do - an exploration of the real being - the essence - of an individual mind as a means of exploring universal mind (Cizek's 'eternal laws'). In this respect I would see the first expressionist' phase as a sort of chaos of embryonic forms, a cosmic soup (she was interested in the shapes that could be seen through a microscope) pulsating with forces ready to give rise to the more well-defined forms of her second phase, interacting with each other, rising, falling, finally issuing, in what turned out to be her last phase, in radiant, spiralling Light. (34)

(34) With regard to this last phase I would love to be able to persuade myself that Alice was aware of 'string theory' which was then, in the late 1960s, in its infancy. It is very unlikely, but she did, I believe, have a lively interest in developments in physics and biology. Yet another reason for regretting the lack of a record of the contents of her library.

Aquatic Forms, 1960, c24 x 34 cmPriv coll

Point of Release 2, 1966, 100.8 x 121.2Priv coll

Painting, c1968. Priv. coll. I don't have the details.