Curio Exhibits, Posters, and Apothecary Bottles: Artifacts from the Strange World of the Gothic Artist
Madame Talbot took her name from the famous and notorious necromancer and alchemist, Edward Kelly alias Edward Talbot. It is said that Talbot convinced Dr. John Dee to leave England to learn about the occult and alchemy. John Dee and Edward Kelly once evoked the dead in a cemetery. Kelly died in 1597.
Madame Talbot's signature, which she has used since 1984, is the alchemical symbol for air.
Madame Talbot's work takes elements from every conceivable area of mysticism, the occult, circus and folklore, tattooing, witches, vampires, and ghosts - she has dedicated her talent to exploring the many veils and rituals that surround death and the surviving loved ones.
Living on the gorgeous and haunted Oregon Coast, in the town of Astoria, she has taken up residence in relative solitude, where she can devote her time to creating these magical shadowboxes, posters, and prints, and collecting the ephemera of days past. Her passion for history and for honoring the dead, in all they have to teach us, is regaled in her subject matter, ranging from antique absinthe and laudanum bottles, to old-time music scores and books, to the ever-present symbols of the skeleton, dark-winged birds and mystical witches.
Her curio cabinets evoke long-lost emotions of the lonely and disenfranchised, of despairing and misunderstood melancholics. They tell the stories the dead can't tell - memento mori and once-dusty objects from homes long vacated become their own witnesses and bear the history they alone are left with. Somehow, in this sadness and grief, with the story being told and given three-dimensional housing, a transcendence occurs.
What happens when looking at death so closely is that it becomes a familiar, a shadow always walking beside the slow-moving body - a darkness with a phosphorescent glow around it. It is a human need to peer in at places that are dark and unknown. Madame Talbot's body of work, taken as a whole, is a ritual in itself. A dark, beautiful descent into the gothic - what shows itself when it's quiet and still and, yes, lonely. A look into that loneliness reveals so much more than what is expected or what is seen and felt in the noise and haste of daily life. To get away from that hectic pace, the world opens, where what was thought before to be frightening and dismal is actually most beautiful.
The Bell Witch
Lincoln's Ghost Train
Decadence & Death
Where Flies Are Born
Civil War Tennessee Weeping Bottles
Witchcraft Spells & Curses
Sarah Tillinghast, U.S. Vampire
Nellie Vaughn, New England Vampire
Now go here.
For more information on Madame Talbot's work, go to madametalbot.com. You can find detailed background and historical information about all of the pieces shown here.