Images familiar – and haunting – are currently appearing at the library, just in time for Halloween!  Perrysburg artist Rob Vanitvelt exhibits paintings of literary “monsters”, including the Wicked Witch of the West and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The installation will go through October 31st – stop by and see if you can identify all the figures.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the image you see here is not Frankenstein.  In Mary Shelley's book he is called various things such as "the monster" and "the creature" and it is the doctor who created him who is named Victor Frankenstein.  Shelley's novel, what is widely considered the first science fiction story, was published in 1818 when Shelley was 20 years old.

 

Suggested Reading: Frankenstein, Monster, She Wrote

The Bride of Frankenstein as a figure from the 1935 film is immediately recognizable.  In fact, she also appears in Mary Shelley's novel - Victor Frankenstein begins to create a bride for his monster, but ultimately destroys her before finishing.

 

Suggested Reading: White is for Witching

Poe is known for his darkly romantic poetry and haunting short stories, including two works that you can see represented in Robert Vanitvelt's current exhibit - "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Raven".  Poe is believed to have written the first detective story and his works filled with Gothic and Romantic themes continue to frighten and delight.

 

Suggested Reading: Poe Stories and Poems, The Good House

 

This novella by Robert Louis Stevenson was published in 1886.  The classic story explores themes of duality, public vs. private life, and repression.

 

Suggested Reading: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, House of Leaves

 

The Salem Witch Trials took place from 1692 to 1693 in Massachussetts.  Over two hundred people were accused of witchcraft, thirty of whom were found guilty.  A notorious episode in colonial history, it is also regarded as one of the most famous examples of mass hysteria.

 

Suggested Reading: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, The Heretic's Daughter, A Storm of Witchcraft: The Salem Trials and the American Experience

 

 L. Frank Baum's Wicked Witch has frightened countless generations with her phrase "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too".  While she is best known from the classic 1939 film, the Witch in Baum's books is in search of Silver Shoes (not Ruby Slippers) and has various creatures (not just winged monkeys) to exert control.

 

Suggested Reading: The Wizard of Oz, Wicked

 

About the Artist:

 

Mr. Vanitvelt was born in Flint, Michigan.  He is a self-taught artist and uses everyday unconventional items to create his art.  His work has been shown in Michigan, Florida, California, and Ohio, including a solo show at the Diane Kidd Art Gallery at Tiffin University.  He was artist-in-residence at Way Library in Winter of 2020.