Magical Midwest Folk Art Tour

This photo essay is from a Summer road trip around the lower half of Lake Michigan. Mostly in search of the beach, I’ll be honest, but also as a scouting mission to find out what folk art presents itself along the way. My mind has been filtering for living traditions, hidden in plain sight. Decorative marks form visual languages, speaking to our relationship with the landscape, telling of the ways we are beholden to and in love with creation. Traumatized by our collective past, we’ve stopped making folk art like we used to, stopped celebrating nature due to a psychic disconnection from it – as though we have been shot into space. Disoriented, we can start bringing ourselves back down to Earth, grounding through interaction with our local ecologies and healing community by observing ancestral art forms. This is an exploration of current stories being actively translated into new symbolic expressions.

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Earth-Centered Stencils

This series came about as a study of of nature and it’s changes throughout the seasonal cycle, and blossomed into associations with folk tales, metaphysics and holistic medicine. Through the two-dozen stencil cuts shown here, I discovered that I can work with the photographs I start from and manipulate the image to give it a compound structure – a snake within an apple – alluding to Eve in the garden, but also to the poison apple in Snow White. Collage should have occurred to me as an obvious tool much earlier, as it’s something that I’ve worked with for decades, but being ruled by Saturn, I’m sometimes slow on the pickup.

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The Feminist Witch

There’s a lot that’s been said about the ‘Feminist Witch’ recently, from writers like Gala Darling, inspiring women to set positive intentions in our lives and practice radical self-love to the W.I.T.C.H. movement, hexing the patriarchy. We saw this reclamation of the mystical experience swelling quietly over the last few years, giving off subtle cultural indicators like a rekindled fascination with crystals and zodiac signs in pop imagery. While the influence of esoteric traditions feeding into these exoteric symbols has always ebbed and flowed (The late 1990’s & 2000’s saw a great interest in magic, and before that the 1980’s with artists like Genesis P-Orridge , late 1960’s and ’70’s counter-cultural movements, 1940’s Beat Generation, and 1920’s Spiritualism and the likes of Aliester Crowley.), but I don’t recall a timewhen magic has been used as such a symbol of girl power.

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