From the moment Arthur Severio first glimpsed Violet Venable's descent into the Garden District solarium in Suddenly Last Summer, he dreamed of being in that space. Southern Gothic: Redux is the result of the magical juxtaposition of his vision-- the Uptown mansion that inspired Tennessee Williams' set, a cast of "self-created" New Orleanians, and a point in history when freedom from constraints is vital.
Growing up in the 1970s, Arthur Severio, the son of a farmer in rural Livingston Parish, Louisiana was provided with a keen sense of the harsh realities of Southern Gothic culture. The characters in Williams' iconic plays provided an escape from his upbringing in his hometown, which also fostered his skills as an outsider and an observer. Photography became Severio's means to explore and to reveal the truth of his vision.
It was not until the1984 World's Fair in New Orleans that Severio left the country for the exuberant gay, drag, and transgender community of the French Quarter and a world once alluded by Williams as being behind a protective "fig leaf."
Southern Gothic: Redux liberates Williams' characters from their literary constraints to explore gender, race, and social class in contemporary New Orleans. This new series continues Severio's work which contains themes presented in his previous photographs recently presented in Straight Outta New Orleans, Street Meat in Chicago, Framed in San Francisco; and most notably in 2016, Louisiana Contemporary, sponsored by the Helis Foundation at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
Arthur at the Bultman mansion for the Southern Gothic shoot.