Monday, December 16, 2013

Huub Niessen, A Bit of Dutch Brilliance

The other day I received an e-mail with an attachment of many intriguing images. It was hard to select just a few to share. But the text was an easier decision. I am letting Huub Niessen tell you about himself and his journey in his own words.
"I have been a journalist for about twenty five years, but, unfortunately, when I was about 45 years old I got deep depressions, that took about ten years of my life. After that dark period I started studying Arabic, and began to draw more intensively than before. By the end of the sixties I had exhibitions in well known galleries in Amsterdam. And now I am 70 years old (born 4 Feb. 1943) and I like to show my tiny works in Amsterdam (Galerie Hamer) and Lyon (Galerie Dettinger Mayer). The Guislain Museum has bought 8 drawings and it is important for me to be in the collection of that museum." Niessen's work is also in the Musee-Creation Frances, which has a world class collection of artbrut and outsider art.
The stories told in each piece are intriguing and the characters are splendid. This is highly original work with a wide appeal to both collectors of non-mainstream as well as mainstream art. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Sculptor Unequaled, Joe DeMarco

After a back injury, Derby, CT resident DeMarco left the field of masonry and became a self-taught sculptor. His first creations were mailbox people made from rims of trucks and cars. Birds of all sorts were his next focus and many a fine eagle or stork is posed on the shore of CT ponds and streams. Metal masks, musicians, carved heads, birdbaths, ballerinas, lovers, and life sized horses and moose became is oeuvre in later years. The creativity of this self-taught man always was a delight to behold. He was proficient in stone, metal, wood, and even concrete.

Joe's property was a junk man's treasure, filled to the brim with aging school busses, old farm trucks, recycled tools and car and motorcycle parts. All became fodder for his work. He kept several projects going at a time, and miraculously many became finished works of art. At times Joe would drive into NY city in a truck which had holes in the floorboards, iffy brakes, and jerry rigged supports holding his precious cargo. He had no compunction about pulling right up in front of the Museum of Modern Art, or the Met, depending on which had less police attention that day, and sell work off the back of his truck. More than once he had to continue on to posh areas like South Hampton to deliver sculpture to delighted buyers who happened to be passing by.

Small in stature, big in spirit, his memorial service drew hundreds of people during a fierce New England snowstorm. The reception, featuring a grouping of his metal and stone musicians, along with live music, celebrated a life not soon forgotten. His works can be seen in private collections throughout the country and at the Marrietta Museum of Art and Whimsy in Pensacola, Florida.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Women of Troy

Tough, edgy, tender, allusive, challenging, ethereal. All these adjectives can describe the stunning works and alter egos of Canadian self-taught artist Troy Brooks. As a young man he found strength in these female forms, which emerged in his earliest drawings. They became a safe haven from school bullies. They have transformed into an army of conquerors as Troy enters his forties. After just two years of showing these oil paintings, Troy had become a full time artist, with strong sales in still tentative times for the art world. It's no wonder!

A Toronto paper wrote these words. "Blending mannerist elements of figurative pop art, surreal distortion and symbolism, Troy Brooks presents an elaborate pageantry of female characters observed in allegorical settings. These towering yet fragile women play out scenes that explore the fringes of an internal landscape; caught in moments where something transformative has or is about to happen."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mark Ashton Vey: The Music Continues

Mark Vey paints trees. Trees are the living memory of his childhood in Scotland. They obviously have had a profound impact on him. Vey calls his style "Musicalism".
Vey says he plays on the canvas like a musician which makes the trees dance in the colors of his music and surrealist style.
"My musical success is the past, but the music is still alive in my paintings." Once upon a time, using the name Mark Ashton,  he played in a band called Rare Bird, which opened for the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. He traveled the world with the band and their first single called "Sympathy" became an international hit. But Vey now makes make music on canvas with acrylic paints. You can hear that music in each artwork and the movement of his trees is mesmerizing. The seductive colors he uses are quite hypnotic.

Vey has exhibited in New York, London, Barcelona, St. Tropez, Aix-An Provence, Nice, and Hamburg. His paintings are on permanent display in various galleries around the world, and they are in many important collections,  including that of Julian Lennon. After 3 years painting in Spain, he now lives and paints in Nice Côte d’Azur France. He is represented by a London dealer and, luckily for us, the music continues on.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Portrait de Genocide: A Political Statement

Sal Scolara, an esteemed professor emeritis from The University of Connecticut, wrote these thoughtful words about a mixed media piece created by Pedro Martin DeClet. It was exhibited by my gallery at the American Visionary Art Museum. This large, prestigious work, featured in the museum's catalogue, is available for sale at the gallery.
"Some artists, like Pedro Martin DeClet, have chosen to create political statements that suggest a new-found kinship with oppressed cultural groups and the positive and affirming act of presenting a political statement for the consideration of viewers. DeClet's Portrait de Genocide is a powerful media related work which chronicles the U.S. government's genocide of native American Indians. The artist has lain out a loose grid of some 50 photocopied images (the number corresponding to the number of states in our country) made from archival photographs of famous Indian chiefs and related imagery. Atop this strong, historical gallery of Indian history, the artist has painted a bold, blood-red graphic image suggestive of rock hieroglyphs found in Indian areas of the Southwest. This blood-red colored sign seems to be a target and a tribute, a marker of the passing of these great leaders. DeClet aligns himself with those that would remind us of these ugly scars upon our nation's history. Make no mistake -- it is not simply an artwork of rebellion one sees here, but a truth laid bare -- and some artists have traditionally used their art to comment on society and its ills. This is a positive act of growth and concern, a connecting to something greater that one's immediate situation."