Wormwood and Haze is the collaborative project of artists Joy Feasley and Paul Swenbeck.
Wormwood and Haze began in 1999 when Swenbeck and Feasley created Ostara, an installation at Project Room in Philadelphia. Ostara, named after the Pagan holiday, combined the artists’ interest in the occult with the severe proto-Modernist design of the Shakers. Later works, worms are the words and A Hatchet to Kill Old Ugly continue to expand on the idea of a domestic interior that is filled with combinations of objects and ideas that range from paleontology to pulp science fiction to water-witching. Craft is at the center of their practice and Wormwood and Haze endeavor to make-by-hand every aspect of their installations. They work cooperatively with many talented individual artists that help Joy and Paul complete the vision of these complex installations. Although Joy and Paul work across mediums, most paintings are made by Joy and most sculptures and ceramics are made by Paul. Wormwood and Haze are working on a new project, Planchette, that will pass through several venues and will grow as it moves.
Joy Feasley was raised on a small dairy farm in rural western New York. She currently lives and works in Philadelphia PA and Stockton Springs ME. Her work is represented by Adams and Ollman Gallery in Portland, OR.
Feasley considers herself a landscape painter, though her landscapes forego trees, sunsets, and waves, and instead seek to describe a mood. Her work tends to be small-scale and intimate, often with depictions of supernatural scenes painted in rich, saturated colors that are a hybrid of abstract and figurative art. In addition to painting, she works in craft, sculpture, and installation. Feasley was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2011 and is also a two-time recipient of Leeway Foundation Window of Opportunity grants. In 2012, Feasley traveled to Los Angeles for a month-long residency at The 18th Street Studios. She studied at Massachusetts College of Art, Cooper Union, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her work has been shown widely in Philadelphia, including solo exhibitions at Locks Gallery, Fleisher Art Memorial, and Vox Populi.
Paul Swenbeck’s work combines sculpture, painting, and photography to create installations that filter craft and occult and spiritual themes through his own idiosyncratic perspective. Swenbeck grew up in Salem, Massachusetts a town synonymous with the witch trial hysteria of Colonial America. His works are found in the West Collection, Oaks, PA, and The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Exhibitions include Dirt on Delight: Impulses that Form Clay at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and during Locally Localized Gravity at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. Swenbeck graduated with a degree in ceramics from Massachusetts College of Art in 1991.
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