Dreams, surreal visions and pagan rituals play a central part in works now filling galleries and in high demand around the world

When artist Stuart Pearson Wright was about five, he was woken by a spectral black dog standing over him. It growled and scratched the wall by his bed, leaving marks still visible the next morning. The incident stayed with him, and when he was older, Pearson Wright was fascinated by the myths of such “grims” (spectral dogs). In his new exhibition, he even creates portraits of them.

As an artist, he’s not alone in his interest in the paranormal. As recent exhibitions and auctions show, a new generation has been inspired by witchcraft, mysticism and spiritualism. The Horror Show at Somerset House, London, last year was a group show about ghosts, monsters and witches, including pieces by artist David Shrigley and Turner prize winner Tai Shani. In the summer, the Tate Modern showed Hilma af Klint and Piet Mondrian. Klint was clairvoyant and believed much of her work was created through automatic painting guided by spirits.

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