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Artist ID: 2395

I am inspired by folklore and related forms of vernacular storytelling. These seemingly absurd stories often include characters based on real people such as the town drunk, a green witch, the physically or mentally impaired, as well as spiritual entities and other supernatural occurrences. The Southern landscape is used to explore feminist concerns and the place of women in society. A lifetime of observing traditions associated with gender roles has inspired my work, and a resourceful mentality has persisted from my impoverished upbringing.

I employ Southern Gothic narratives, an aesthetic that criticizes society’s racism, sexism, classism, fixation on the past, and decaying economy. The tension between the grotesque and the beautiful fascinates me. In my paintings, these characteristics can be found in the abnormal skin tones, angst-ridden sense of alienation, dark humor, question of innocence, deeply flawed characters, and allusions to the past with fabric and traditions. The paintings become symbols and have the potential to create and inspire new folklore. Symbols are a bridge between the past and future, which makes the present tolerable. Textiles are used to tell the stories of these characters and hold memory in their fibers. My work gives homage to regionalism, while displaying the visual agony and ecstasy of growing up in the South.

Zoe Fitch is a contemporary figurative abstract painter and current M.F.A. student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Fitch accomplished her B.F.A. at The University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi in 2019. As a Mississippi native, she aspires to tell her personal perspective through her Southern narratives. Fitch looks to influences in Southern culture including folklore and found materials that are associated with “female-centric” duties. These materials have recently transformed into soft sculptures in which she uses textiles passed on generationally to construct wall, floor, and hanging pieces. Fitch finds inspiration in personal conflicts and interpersonal relationships within Southern culture. Photographs of the Southeastern landscape are incorporated to connect the painting to its setting, as well as natural materials such as red dirt and kudzu leaves. Inspired by her female relatives, Fitch pays homage to the past while commenting on recurring issues based on regionalist culture.

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