Bruce West on Tour

Bruce West’s color photographs in The True Gospel Preached Here, recently featured by Garden and Gun, document the spiritual and creative work of Reverend H.D. Dennis, and his wife, Margaret, a self-proclaimed preacher, artist, and architect in Vicksburg, Mississippi. This elderly couple devoted more than twenty years of their lives to converting Margaret’s Grocery Store into a one-of-a-kind nondenominational church.

Guided by visions from God, their elaborate transformation of Margaret’s Grocery involved the construction of several towers, the creation of the Ark of the Covenant containing tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments, and new religious iconography. A sign at the entrance of Margaret’s Grocery announced: "Welcome Jews and Gentile This Church Open 24 Hours a Day.” While another sign promised: "The True Gospel Preached Here.” 

The product of twenty years of labor and multiple site visits, West's photographs are both intimate and transparent, tenderly revealing the Reverend and Margaret's love of God and for one another, their commitment to their work, and their shared transformation while aging together. The images offer unique insights into the role of spirituality in southern folk art and creativity and the joys and demands of an ascetic and inspired life.

West is a professor in the Department of Art and Design at Missouri State University. But he will be coming to Mississippi the first week in June on a mini book tour. Bruce will be signing his book at the following times and locations:

Saturday, May 31, 2 p.m. at Lorelei Books in Vicksburg

Monday, June 2, 5:00 p.m. at Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson

Tuesday, June 3, 5:00 p.m. at Turnrow Book Company in Greenwood