As a child I experienced the shouting, singing and faith strewn across the pews of my mother’s southern Baptist church. A sick man kneels at the altar; the elders of the church surround him and place their hands on his body. Like a pulsing organism, they chant for God to heal him. They chanted for what seemed like hours, each time growing louder and more desperate in their pleas. In a town across the river, a woman in the congregation has the sight. Members of her church, community and strangers seek her advice while she chain smokes in her kitchen. She predicted the deaths of several folks in town, or so it is said. She credits her gift to God, practically spitting at the whispers of witchcraft.

 

These circumstances hold positions at far ends of the faith spectrum, yet their rituals, symbols and belief systems occupy similar space. This body of work aims to explore this spectrum, and the assumptions made about the meaning and intention within objects and materials.

 

This work and research began in 2017, and was completed in 2019. These images were made using the 19th century photographic printing process gum bichromate. Traditional watercolor pigment was replaced with various organic materials including herbs, blood, earth and ash, giving the prints a spectrum of colors and textures.

 © 2019 Kelsey Dillow. 

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