PRINTED IN ISSUE 11
This past May I went to Chris Lux’s first solo show at Muddgutts gallery in New York. The paintings and drawings I saw there were inspired by the 1944 text “Treasury of American Folklore: Stories, Ballads, and Traditions of the People” written by B.A Botkin. Chris and I talked about doing an interview but decided it was more interesting to tell the tales behind each work. Lux’s child-like, colourful painting style, and almost kindergartenish Italian-Frescos are aptly and humourosly paired with these oddball narratives. Here Chris explains the folklore behind his works. -CM
“The Witch” 2014, Gouache on brown paper.
“A hunter was off in his hunting hut when an old witch came in the door. She said, ‘you’re mine now, tie up those dogs first and then I will have my way with you.’ The man pretended to tie up his dogs but didn’t. When the witch came closer, the dogs attacked the old witch and bit her in the butt. He was relieved. When he woke up and got home his wife told him that the beautiful young neighbor girl who he loved was on her death bed. He rushed over and when he saw her he realized that she had been bit in the butt and he cried out. His wife, seeing his sorrow, was so overcome by jealousy that she stabbed the dying girl right there. Heartbroken, the man left and lived in his hut forever.”
“The Underwear Ghost” 2014, Gouache on brown paper.
“A woman’s husband died. He started haunting her and she could not figure out why. She asked her friends and they asked her if she had left out underwear for him. She said she hadn’t, but that night she left a clean pair of underwear for him. The next night however he was haunting her again and she finally asked him, ‘what is it you want?’ He said, ‘baby, gimme another pair of drawers please.’”
“A Pet Trout” 2014, Oil on linen.
“A half-Native man had a pet trout that he hated. He kept it in a barrel and would stare at it everyday and just wonder: ‘why?’ He started to take it out of the barrel most days just to see what would happen. It started to be able to wander with him through the tall, wet grass. Eventually, the trout was able to follow him down the dusty roads and all the way into town. He loved it now, it would follow him everywhere he went. Eventually they were walking down the road and across a bridge. He looked back but his pet was nowhere to be found. He saw a hole in the bridge and when he looked down, he saw his pet trout had drowned in the river below.”
“Don’t Sell My House” 2014, Flashé and oil on canvas.
“A husband and wife moved into a brand new house in the country. As soon as she became pregnant with their child, they were as happy as can be. While giving birth, however, both child and mother died. After years of grieving, the husband finally remarried. Soon his new wife was pregnant, and while she was expecting, she told her husband they needed a new bigger house. So the husband put the house up for sale. Soon they were being haunted and heard the cries of a baby all night and a voice saying, ‘don’t sell my house or something bad will happen.’ It went on and on everynight. But they didn’t listen and they sold the house to get out as soon as they could. Later the husband was riding along the road to the new house and his head hit a tree branch and he fell off into a spittoon. While the new wife waited for her husband to come home she and her unborn son were killed by a burglar.”
“The Rolling Heads” 2014, Oil on canvas.
“A woman was to marry a hunter who hunted deep in the woods. One day he was out in the woods and found a lake. He made a rope out of bark and tied it around his waist, and soon he had a fish on the line. The fish dragged him under and swallowed him. A kingfisher came down and caught the fish and cut up the belly but all that remained was the head of the hunter. He told the kingfisher to fly back and tell his fiancé that they could never be together like they were before, but that he will be there in the morning. In the morning, the hunter’s head came rolling down the road outside the house and flew up on the roof and stayed there many days singing to its beloved. The hunter’s brother realized that the head was going to try and kill its fiancé with grapes, so he killed the flying head with a crow.”
“The Star Husbands” 2014, Oil on canvas.
“Two young women were lying down looking at the stars and one of them said, ‘I will have that bright star,’ and the other said, ‘I will have that star which is not so bright.’ They went to sleep, and when they were sent for they awoke lying down far up in the sky. There they found that the bright star was an old man and the less bright star was a young man. The wife of the former disliked her husband. Then they slept, and when they awoke again they were back in their own house.”
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