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It's all in the cards: Peter Roberts, Lisa Ocampo join forces for Location show

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ARE YOU ready for your fortune?

Just in time for Halloween comes “In Our Cards” by Peter Roberts and Lisa Ocampo at Location Gallery.

The exhibition, inspired by fortune-telling cards, is open through Nov. 2, with gallery profits benefiting Hospice Savannah.

About a year ago, Roberts and Ocampo discovered that they both had tarot-inspired art in the pipeline.

Sage Deck papercut assemblage by Peter Roberts.
  • Sage Deck papercut assemblage by Peter Roberts.

“I was like, ‘Wow, I did not know this about you!’” laughs Ocampo. “I had said this year that I’m not going to do a show, I’m dedicating time to finishing my children’s book and then I’ll get back into networking and all that. Doing the tarot deck, that would be 78 paintings—that’s a lot. But Peter said we should do a show and I was like, Okay!”

“She goes, ‘October!’ and I go, ‘19th!’” adds Roberts.

Roberts’ and Ocampo’s work couldn’t be any more different, but for this show, the odd coupling works perfectly. Roberts’ pristine paper cuts are a visual respite to the boldness of Ocampo’s colorful paintings.

Ocampo’s body of work is based on the deck of tarot cards itself.

“I think the fortune-telling aspect of it is the entry or the tip, meaning that the tarot, with all its symbolism, is what attracts people,” muses Roberts. “When they start looking at it like, what does that mean, why does that object have power, etc., it becomes more of a self-awareness.”

“I don’t believe in the magic, hocus-pocus of it,” says Ocampo.”Like Peter said, it’s a self-guide. When you have a problem and you’re trying to think of a solution, you don’t, really. You just sit there in anxiety and you’re going to make a flash decision. The tarot really stops your mind. It carries your mind down a different path.”

Queen of Cups painting by Lisa Ocampo.
  • Queen of Cups painting by Lisa Ocampo.

Roberts based his work on the twelve Jungian personality archetypes.

“That was the framework of that idea, which of course are based on the twelve astrological symbols, which are based on the Greek Pantheon and those distinct personality types,” explains Roberts. “Each piece is a personality type, and then the individual symbols are the aspects or driver of that. I also give a noncommittal poem with each symbol.”

That means that Roberts wrote 288 poems for this show—an impressive feat.

While Roberts and Ocampo don’t use the same fortune-telling method, the similarities between their tropes are fascinating.

“The idea of the Explorer, for example, crosses all cultures,” says Roberts. “It’s kind of commonality across culture. For instance, Halloween is a very similar holiday across different countries; they all have their own celebration. I think it’s really interesting that, even though the religions are so completely different, those traditions are remarkably the same.”

Ultimately, Roberts and Ocampo are excited to see how people react to each work.

“I think the magic of tarot is that it carries you to an inner journey,” says Ocampo. “It is kind of magical. You’re like, ‘I didn’t know all that was in me. That is a magic moment when that clicks.”

“I think it’ll be interesting to see the way the audience reacts to it,” says Roberts.

“I’m hoping that people come in and are like, ‘Oh!’” Ocampo adds. “It’s been so helpful to me. This year has been amazing because I’ve had to delve into learning it. I’m by no means a professional, but it’s just been this personal thing of learning things I didn’t know about myself.”

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