Fool's Paradise

The Fool II: Camera Lucida/Camera Obscura

Archetypes and symbols illustrate the universality of the human experience. I am interested in the Tarot because it presents a rich source of symbolic imagery and inspires the user to self-examination.

For several years, I experimented with the themes of aging and denial and focused on the ways we fool ourselves into thinking we can turn back the hands of time. For example, we spend more than we should on products that promise to “reverse the aging process,” and although we may laugh at our own tendency to be so duped, we continue to buy and use these products. Beneath the surface of this denial is simple vanity. Deeper still is something much more primal: the fear of death.

For me, the perfect marriage of the Tarot and the denial of the aging process found its expression in a series of portraits of the Fool as a middle-aged woman. In the Tarot, The Fool represents folly and indiscretion, but s/he also represents a simple and childlike faith. Some scholars believe the Fool has found its way into our modern playing card deck as the Joker. In her book Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey, Sallie Nichols writes, “The Joker connects two worlds – the everyday, contemporary world where most of us live most of the time and the nonverbal land of imagination….he can connect the modern ‘games people play’ with the archetypal world of the ancestors.”