Pam Grossman is a writer, curator, and teacher of magical practice and history. She is the creator of Phantasmaphile, a blog that specializes in esoteric and fantastical art, and author of the illuminated manifesto, What Is A Witch (Tin Can Forest Press, 2016). Her writing has appeared in Abraxas Journal, Sciences Occultes, Sabat, Huffington Post, MSN, Film Comment, and elsewhere. Pam’s group art shows and projects, including Language of the Birds: Occult and Art at NYU’s 80WSE Gallery, have been featured by such outlets as Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Art in America. She is Associate Editor of Fulgur Esoterica and the co-organizer of the Occult Humanities Conference at NYU. She lives in Brooklyn with her fellow and their two feline familiars. (Attached photo by Shannon Taggart.)
Presentation: Witch Pictures: Female Magic and Transgression in Western Art
The image of the witch as we know it first appeared in visual culture in the late fifteenth century, and became a popular subject in artwork in the years that followed through today. Artists as varied as Dürer, Fuseli, Goya and Blake used the archetype of magical—and often malevolent—women to titillate their patrons or reflect their own anxiety about female bodies and societal roles, often resulting in works that were either grotesque or beguilingly glamorous.
But what happens when witches themselves wield the brush? In the mid-nineteenth century, a family tree of female visionary artists began to take root. Deeply entrenched in esoteric studies, and often engaging in their own ritual practices, these women began creating works that used their own metaphysical experiences as inspiration, thus becoming their own muses.
In this richly illustrated presentation, Pam Grossman will explore the witchy women artists of abstraction, surrealism, modernism—and movements that have yet to be classified—and shine a light in the corners of art history where craft and Craft are one and the same.