Conjure Woman


Airdate: October 18, 2017

Renee Stout is a visual artist who explores the mystical and rhythmic planes of existence. Her assemblages combine painting, sculpture, found objects, vintage photographs, ancient symbols, herbs and potions, and remnants of stories and letters. Her mixed-media, multi-sensory installations delve into spiritualism, soothsaying, magic and spells. She creates fictional narratives with imaginary characters derived from alter egos that trace her personal history and address contemporary issues of community strife and healing. Her work has been exhibited internationally and at the National Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African Art, the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Smithsonian Institution American Art Museum.  Renee is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.   

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the conjuring of mystical powers and the life of a contemporary visual artist.


  • Renee explains her art and what viewers would see at one of her exhibits.

  • She reveals the role alter egos play in the construction and presentation of her work.

  • She discusses what herbs, roots and found objects have to do with her art and the conjuring of supernatural forces.

  • Renee tells a story about when she cast a spell of her own.

  • She talks about how the relationship of her parents affected her and the burden and benefits of being sensitive.

  • Renee shares key advice she received from her father and an early encounter with art that changed her life.

  • She discusses how she feels being known as a black artist.

  • Renee shares what she is working on now, whether her art is where she wants it to be, and what spell she would cast on the world.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Dancing in Honor of the Gods

To Learn More About Renee


  • What struck you about Renee's comments?

  • Are there supernatural forces you feel you can access and direct?

  • What do you make of objects of power?

  • What spell would you cast on the world?

We invite your posts on our Facebook page.

This episode is sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts, celebrating its 25th year presenting the best in performing arts.