Antique teacup with mushroom sculpture measuring 9” high and 5.5” across.
From an early age, Midwest born artist Michael Campbell has made a connection between handcrafted objects and the divine. Using the mushroom as his talisman, Campbell explores the roles they play as natural 'decomposers' of dead, organic matter as well as symbols of fairytales and altered states of consciousness. The bold red and white spotted caps of the immediately identifiable amanita muscaria are the iconic symbols of both vintage Christmas gnomes and of Siberian Shamans engaged in vision quests. Campbell references the depiction of these mushrooms here as the forbidden fruit in the Christian fresco found in the Plaincouroualt Abbey.
Campbell's sculpture speaks in a visual language unique to the 1970's through bright colors and painted plaster casts reminiscent of chalkware banks of that era. They suggest hand painted, mass-produced tchotchkes of divine sacraments, mushroom saints, and forest spirits.