Idiosyncrasies of small-town Wisconsin life were captured in photographs along the state’s segment of the historic Yellowstone Trail by Carl Corey. An exhibit of the images, “Carl Corey — Along the Yellowstone Trail,” will fill all three gallery spaces at Arts + Literature Laboratory (ALL), 2021 Winnebago St., until Dec. 2.

Corey, a fine art documentary photographer, set out on foot from Hudson and walked 480 miles to Kenosha along the first transcontinental automobile highway in the northern U.S. used between 1913 and 1929. The Yellowstone Trail’s vast network of wagon trails, farm roads, and town roadways offered a mix of views, including racist memorabilia alongside religious iconography in private yards, muscle cars on front lawns, nationalistic symbols and many other oddities and quirks.

“I am not interested in the obvious, the landscape, the beauty of the small town nor in making a propagandistic statement of the Dairy State’s wonders,” Corey said in a press release. “I am very interested in the subtle details. From these details a larger view can be compiled, a social jigsaw puzzle pieced together by each viewer in their own unique way. It is my hope that my experience results in understanding and further insight on the behalf of those with whom it is shared.”

In keeping with ALL’s experimental philosophy, Corey has given the exhibit’s design a unique twist. More than 100 hand-stamped postcards of his photographs were mailed by Corey to ALL. They will line and wind through the three galleries, simulating his route along the historic highway. Together, he and ALL’s lead curators, Simone Doing and Max Puchalsky, selected twelve images to make into large archival inkjet prints to punctuate the postcards in the exhibit.

Corey has further expanded on the exhibit by producing a “tourist guidebook” for gallery visitors. And, a series of limited edition zines, postcard sets, prints and an artist’s book will be available for purchase in conjunction with the exhibit at ALL.

— Robyn Norton

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Robyn Norton is a features assistant for the Wisconsin State Journal.