“Unruly women are always witches, no matter what century we’re in.”
VERHEXEN is a visual examination of The Witch as transgressive female archetype, in both modern and historical periods.
300 years after the Salem Witch Trials, our fixation with Witches hasn’t wavered, from “The Wizard of Oz” to Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. The history of the Witch in America is one of fear, sexism and toxic masculinity that is still perpetrated to limit and control female autonomy. As we navigate the landscape of the most repressive administration this country has seen in generations, the legacy of the Witch connects all women to a direct lineage of patriarchal resistance.
Female self-sovereignty has long been associated with the punishment of rebellious women. Fear of female power and sexuality is deeply rooted within the American psyche and despite hundreds of years of perceived progress, the modern woman is currently as much of a “target” for persecution as her historical counterparts.
Images photographed within the documentary tradition of modern practicing Witches and handmade still life reconstructions of the tools (both metaphoric and metaphysical) said to be employed by Witches, are sequenced and anecdotally linked to sourced historical documents and Salem trial testimonies. The conceptual presentation of images, text and objects moves seamlessly between past and present, fact and fiction, revealing hidden connections and underlying parallels of experience to the modern woman.
Jennifer Loeber is a conceptual documentary photographer based in New York City. Her work focuses on representations of female identity and historical narrative. In 2017 she received a MACK First Book Award nomination for her project, GYRLE and was shortlisted for the Triskel 40 Photo Prize/Ireland. She has been awarded the Purchase Prize at the San Diego Museum of Art (2016), the Theo Westenberger Art & Activism Prize (2015), The Barcelona International Photography Award (2015), Finalist in the Kuala Lumpu Photo Awards (2015), a Terry O’Neill TAG award nomination (2012), a Darkroom Residency at The Camera Club of New York (2011), and Finalist in Photolucida’s Critical Mass (2011).
Her work has been exhibited widely, including Visa Pour L’Image, Organ Vida International Photography Festival, Croatia, Foley Gallery in NYC, Fotonoviembre in Tenerife, the Daegu Photo Biennale in South Korea, the Griffin Museum of Photography, The Center for Fine Art Photography, the SCOPE Art Fair in New York City, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Photoville Festival and Rayko Gallery. Her photographs have been published in New York Magazine, W Magazine, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Slate, GEO, PDN, CNN, Huffington Post, The Village Voice, VICE, Marie Claire, American Photo, LINDA, Guernica, Le Journal de la Photographie, and GUP Magazine.