Although I was admittedly less enthusiastic about this year's Folk Fest, I do have two show favorites I'd like to share.
1. Aaron Hequembourg
This sort of craftsmanship does not translate faithfully into photography. Textures immediately attack the retina, drawing you in closer, where the mystery of Hequembourg's subjects hold the gaze captive like pale, slinking phantoms on some ancient plantation balcony.
Found object and mixed-media.
Combining painting with engraving, Hequembourg has been known to—literally—use pieces of his own home to create art. The history of the image also makes a difference; the artist can typically recall each source. From photographs documenting that influential New Deal institution, the W.P.A., to century-old family albums, each piece seems all the more personal.
Women of the Democratic Party Handle Poisonous Snakes, Republican Women Don't by Steve Shepard.
2. And then there was Steve Shepard.
Shepard lives and works in Ocean Springs, MS, a town on the Gulf Coast just outside of Biloxi. Each and every piece he exhibited was political and, moreover, loudly and unashamedly Left-wing. An interesting departure from what's in the art history books...
The border around this one says:
ELVIS SPITS ON BUSH EVERY CHANCE HE GETS,Elvis, Lincoln, Moses, and the Devil join crayfish and alligators as recurring characters. The works express outrage following Hurricane Katrina, an environmental awareness connected to the bayou and its way of life, and illustrations, like the above, that state simply and unequivocally: George W. Bush is a terrible president.
LINCOLN LOOKS ON APPROVINGLY.