From an early age, Midwest-born artist Michael Campbell has made a connection between handcrafted objects and the divine. Using the mushroom as his talisman, Campbell explores the roles they play as natural "decomposers" of dead, organic matter, as well as symbols of fairy tales and altered states of consciousness. The bold red and white spotted caps of the immediately identifiable amanita muscaria are the iconic symbols of both vintage Christmas gnomes and of Siberian Shamans engaged in vision quests. Campbell references the depiction of these mushrooms here as the forbidden fruit in the Christian fresco found in the Plaincourualt Abbey.
Campbell's sculpture speaks in a visual language unique to the 1970s through bright colors and painted plaster casts reminiscent of chalkware banks of that era. They suggest hand-painted, mass-produced tchotchkes of divine sacraments, mushroom saints, and forest spirits.
About Kelley Benes:
Beans of John, also known as Kelley [KT] Benes [Beans], is an artist based out of Los Angeles. Her work has always been deeply inspired by her love of nature. During her travels over the years, she has amassed a collection of peculiar trinkets and artifacts that now serve as inspiration for her work. Combining her fascination with the strange objects collected over time and her desire to create art inspired by science and nature, she presents the body of work known as "Beans of John." Along with making unsettling objects made up of teeth, shells, eggs, eyes, and human hair, Kelley is also a practicing illustrator, mixed media artist, and taxidermist.