Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley: Devil’s Promenade
Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley have created a collaborative series that is all about exploring myth, story telling, and understanding place. There’s something about the woods at night that makes your hair stand on end (as the Blair Witch Project so wonderfully exhibited), add onto the uneasy feelings of darkness in nature with a mythology of Spook Light, and you have a series that sets our imaginations in motion. Antone and Lara are offering a print sale of this project that is available until November 15th. Go here for more info. Monies collected will go towards Devil’s Promenade as a monograph book project.
Lara Shipley currently lives and teaches photography in Lawrence, Kansas. She is an artist who primarily makes work about people and their relationship with the out-of-the-way-places they call home. Her work has recently been exhibited at Northlight Gallery in Tempe, the John Sommers Gallery in Albuquerque, Project Basho in Philadelphia, The Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, and the University of Arizona Art Museum in Tucson. Her photographs and writing have recently been published in GOOD Magazine, the British Journal of Photography and Fraction Magazine. She received her MFA from Arizona State University.
Antone Dolezal is a New Mexico based artist and writer who primarily makes work about the American social landscape and its relationship with history and folklore. A solo exhibition of his project Ghost Town was recently on display at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and his photographs have also recently been seen in group exhibitions at photo-eye Bookstore in Santa Fe and Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco. Antone’s work has been published in Oxford American, PDN’s Emerging Photographer and Fraction Magazine and his writing has appeared in photo-eye, Fraction and Ahorn Magazine. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Santa Fe in 2006.
By Lara Shipley and Antone Dolezal
Deep in the backwoods of the Ozark hills locals both young and old still talk about the Spook Light. This mysterious light phenomenon appears on chance nights as a floating orb, seen on a remote country road in an area known as the Devil’s Promenade. Many have tried and failed to discover its origins, including the United States Army Corp of Engineers in the 1950’s. Because of its lack of explanation the Devil’s Promenade has been a popular local destination for decades, with the tale of the Spook Light taking on the quality of myth within the local community.
Our collaborative project combines photographs of Ozark people and the land with more abstract and interpretive images based on oral accounts and mythology surrounding the light. Our aim is not to provide documentation, but to suggest a narrative that, in the spirit of the light, is part fixed in this unique region and part afloat in a mysterious, otherworldly realm.
Folkloric stories can shed symbolic light on very real issues in a community. In the Ozarks many live in isolated poverty and drug addiction is high. This region is in the heart of the Bible Belt, and the struggle between heaven and hell factors into everyday conversation. We feel the frequent and mysterious appearance of the Spook Light has come to represent for the people we meet a desire for redemption and the fear of slipping into darkness. It is the sublime experience whose defiance of explanation provides a reprieve from ordinary life.
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