Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Featured Artist: Rosaleen Norton

I have not done one of these for so long.  I am watching "The Witch of Kings Cross" the documentary of artist Rosaleen Norton.  The movie is great and it reminded me how much I love her work.  Before I get into talking about Roie, I want to mention that actress Kate Elizabeth Laxton who plays Roie in the documentary is just fantastic.  

Ok. On to Roie.

Rosaleen Norton

Rosaleen Miriam Norton was born October 2, 1917 and lived till December 5, 1979.  She was considered to be an esoteric artist and one of Australia's most notorious artists.  She was one of the first women to ever be charged with obscenity for her art. 

So I guess fair warning for the art that follows.

satanic orgies

She referred to herself as a "witch" and used altered states of consciousness to make her art. She often called herself "Thorn," much like a craft name.  But her friends all called her Roie.

I came to know her via her art "The Seance."  I thought she had tapped into something deep and maybe even a little dark.  For someone young and obsessed with witches and the writings of C.G. Jung she seemed like some sort of prophetess or seeress to me. 

The Seance by Rosaleen Norton

Later I learned her art was fueled by drugs, sex, and trying to commune with other powers, in particular Pan.  Sounds perfect to me.  

If The Seance grabbed me, then her Lilith cemented her in the pantheon of people that influenced my RPG writings.


The Spinner by Rosaleen Norton

She does a lot of Jungian archetypes in her art and I use the same ones when I wrote my first books on witches.

Bacchanal by Rosaleen Norton

Firebird by Rosaleen Norton

Fohat by Rosaleen Norton

Her demon Fohat (above) was something of her personal demon or even a Jungian Animus. 

Black Magic

Norton art

Rosaleen Norton

Norton art

Norton art

Norton art

Interviewer: What would be the state of the world if evil ruled?
Roie: Exactly as it is now.

If I could, her art would be the covers for all my books.

"I came into this world bravely, and I will leave this world bravely."

- Last Words of Rosaleen Norton


Tim Knight said...

What a magical artist. Thank you for reminding me of The Witch of Kings Cross, which sits in my Amazon Prime viewing queue.

Dick McGee said...

Hmmm, interesting, never ran into her work before. Talented gal. I can see where the uptights would flip out over her art back in - was it 1949, the obscenity charge?

I guess my only quibble would be the fact that her female figures apparently still shave their legs, which feels kind of off for such an unrestrained celebration of natural (and supernatural) sexuality. Artifical societal constraint kind of thing. Still, hardly a big deal to me. Maybe more so to some folks, and not at all to others.

Suppose you could find some modern artist who could emulate her overall style for a book cover, but her creativity not so much.

Dick McGee said...

Interviewer: "What would be the state of the world if evil ruled?"
Roie: "Exactly as it is now."

That's great, but my answer would have been a question.

"What do you mean if?"

Not sure which of us is more pessimistic, realistic, or optimistic about things. :)

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Even some of the male figures look like they have shaved legs. So I guess it is just artistic expression.