Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley
(American; Antone Dolezal b. 1982; resides in Santa Fe, NM; Lara Shipley, b. 1980; resides in Lawrence, KS)
After growing up in the Ozark region in the central United States, Antone Dolezal and Lara Shipley, both accomplished artists in their own right, began traveling along the Missouri-Oklahoma border and photographing together in 2012. The artists meld their respective styles in the series, Devil’s Promenade (2012-2014), a narrative portrait of local culture and mythology that focuses on a fabled supernatural phenomenon called “the spook light.” Appearing as a disembodied orb of light in the woods and along remote country roads, the mysterious glow has been reported by generation-after-generation of locals.
The Ozarks are located in the Bible belt, where discussions of divine and the devil are part of everyday life. The spirituality of the region contributes to the mythology surrounding the spook light, helping it move from mere story to integral part of local culture. Dolezal and Shipley describe the rural and impoverished region as having an unexplainable magical quality, likening it to literature’s magic realism. The pair feel that "the spook light" has become representative of feelings of desire, longing, and the search for meaning among the residents of the region.
While collaborating, the artists maintain individual photographic practices. Shipley’s work focuses on people and cultures in rural places Dolezal’s practice is rooted in history and folklore and the American social landscape. Antone Dolezal completed a BFA from the College of Santa Fe in 2006. Lara Shipley completed her MFA at Arizona State University in 2013 and her BJ from the University of Missouri in 2004. Both artists have been separately included in numerous exhibitions across the United States. Devil’s Promenade has been featured in various media outlets including: NPR (2013), Lenscratch (2013), Feature Shoot (2013), and Vice Magazine (2014). The pair has published two books of the series with Search Party Books, Spook Light Chronicles Vol. 1 – the road to the light (2013) and Spook Light Chronicles Vol. 2 – the phosphorescent man (2014).