A linchpin of L.A.'s beat, proto-hippie, and spiritualist communities in the 1950s and '60s, Marjorie Cameron avoided galleries after one of her shows was raided by vice cops in the '50s. Her paintings and ink drawings have an eldritch feel; they are a stepping stone between British occult artist Osman Spare and the spooky aesthetic of the modern goth tribe and Sandman comics.
Whether or not Cameron was a mystical being created via sex magick by her husband, rocket scientist Jack Parsons, and his pal, a pre-Scientology L. Ron Hubbard, is up for debate. She was definitely an innovative, prescient artist, now enjoying a solo exhibit at the MOCA Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles: Cameron: Songs for the Witch Woman.
The subterranean lifeways and questioning of consensus reality that was Cameron's milieu has now gone paradoxically mainstream in today's mash of culture and counterculture. The spell Cameron cast transformed the choices and worldviews available to us all. -Brian Doherty
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Witch Woman's Blessing".