Northern Michigan resident Tim Flannery is an artist whose work is deeply influenced by his surroundings. Living and working in the Upper Peninsula, his photography often captures the idyllic beauty of this place, which is defined by its dense forests, its Great Lakes, and its long, harsh winters. On his website, Flannery states, “during the long winters I find that my work becomes more convoluted…As the winters drag on the images start to take on a surreal feeling.” Indeed, this is evident in the pieces that will appear in Issue 8 of Superstition Review this December, particularly his painting “Twig Man.” The palette is awash in grays, and looking at his painting I can’t help but feel the sense of confinement that comes with being forced indoors. I can only imagine that Flannery completed this particular piece during the coldest days.
Flannery’s passion for the Upper Peninsula is not confined to his artwork. When not working on his own art, he edits Art on Ice: Digital Magazine of Art and Culture in the Frozen Upper Peninsula. His magazine covers a wide array of subjects in the arts, including articles on everything from literature to dance to dining. What unites these subjects is a strong sense of the contributors’ regional identity, and like Flannery’s own art, the work in this magazine is clearly influenced by the thick forests and ever-present cold. Coming from Arizona, where Superstition Review is based, it is particularly interesting to explore how environment shapes art, since the Sonoran Desert and the Upper Peninsula are about as different as two environments can be. It is a pleasure to glimpse another part of the world through the work that reflects its identity.