Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Definitions, just a starting point........

Both Raw Vision magazine and Wikipedia have posted this information before, but I offer it again as a good starting point for understanding the difference between many of the terms used to define outsider art.

A number of terms are used to describe art that is loosely understood as "outside" of official culture. Definitions of these terms vary, and there are areas of overlap between them. The editors of Raw Vision, a leading journal in the field, suggest that "Whatever views we have about the value of controversy itself, it is important to sustain creative discussion by way of an agreed vocabulary". Consequently they lament the use of "outsider artist" to refer to almost any untrained artist. "It is not enough to be untrained, clumsy or naïve. Outsider Art is virtually synonymous with Art Brut in both spirit and meaning, to that rarity of art produced by those who do not know its name."

  • Art Brut: literally translated from French means "raw art"; 'Raw' in that it has not been through the 'cooking' process: the art world of art schools, galleries, museums. Originally art by psychotic individuals who existed almost completely outside culture and society. Strictly speaking it refers only to the Collection de l'Art Brut.
  • Folk art: Folk art originally suggested crafts and decorative skills associated with peasant communities in Europe - though presumably it could equally apply to any indigenous culture. It has broadened to include any product of practical craftsmanship and decorative skill - everything from chain-saw animals to hub-cap buildings. A key distinction between folk and outsider art is that folk art typically embodies traditional forms and social values, where outsider art stands in some marginal relationship to society's mainstream.
  • Intuitive art / Visionary art: Raw Vision Magazine's preferred general terms for outsider art. It describes them as deliberate umbrella terms. However, Visionary Art unlike other definitions here can often refer to the subject matter of the works, which includes images of a spiritual or religious nature. Intuitive art is probably the most general term available. Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art based in Chicago operates a museum dedicated to the study and exhibition of intuitive and outsider art. The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland is dedicated to the collection and display of visionary art.
  • Marginal art/Art singulier: Essentially the same as Neue Invention; refers to artists on the margins of the art world.
  • Naïve art: Another term commonly applied to untrained artists who aspire to "normal" artistic status, i.e. they have a much more conscious interaction with the mainstream art world than do outsider artists.
  • Neuve Invention: Used to describe artists who, although marginal, have some interaction with mainstream culture. They may be doing art part-time for instance. The expression was coined by Dubuffet too; strictly speaking it refers only to a special part of the Collection de l'Art Brut.
  • Visionary environments: Buildings and sculpture parks built by visionary artists - range from decorated houses, to large areas incorporating a large number of individual sculptures with a tightly associated theme. Examples include Watts Towers by Simon Rodia, Buddha Park and Sala Keoku by Bunleua Sulilat, and The Palais Ideal by Ferdinand Cheval.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Outsider Art Tour, Europe!

Outsider Art Europe Tour

Intuit will host a tour of European outsider art sites March 14 - March 25, 2010, led by Randy M. Vick, Associate Professor of Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The focus of this trip will be to visit the historic clinical psychiatry collections and museums as well as private collections, contemporary workshops for artists with disabilities, and artist environments.

Secure your spot today by contacting Kevin Mulcahy.

*This is a top notch institution and the trip will be very exciting for lovers of artbrut artworks. This is the very kind of work my gallery is so pleased to represent.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Amazing find, tucked into a book

On an antiquing trip along the CT coastline, I happened upon a small store that I almost neglected. But a wise teacher once told me that unexpected finds sit waiting to be discovered in the most unlikely places. As I was thumbing through an old book, twenty one small drawings fell out! All were written on the backs of letters between two family members , and dated 1866. They were obviously made by small, but extremely imaginative children, and they were clearly worth much more than the $10 price tag on the book. So I made my way up to the dealer, showed my find, and we negotiated a new price for the lot. This all happened years ago, but these small childhood drawings remain one of my favorite collections. The one with the alligator looks like a Traylor to me!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Master Weathervane maker.....Anthony Holland

Travis Tuck made a weathervane for the movie Jaws, back in the day. It was stolen from the set and he had to make another. Stephen Spielberg became a fan and added one to his personal collection years later. Then Anthony Holland came to Martha's Vineyard and became Travis's apprentice and together they created some of the most famous weathervanes in the country. The Fall issue of Martha's Vineyard Style magazine has done a spectacular article about Tony Holland's work. Get yourself a copy. It'll be a great read and the pages of photos are stunning.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Museum of Everything opens in London

Secrets — you love them. Telling them, hearing them, keeping them — who cares? — as long as something is revealed. We’ve got a new one for you. Opening today is The Museum of Everything — a space dedicated to secret art. The temporary venue showcases paintings, sculptures and curiosities by unintentional artists. Like Fleury Joseph Crépin, a plumber, miner and spiritualist who received a calling to paint 300 temples. And the Indian road worker who created ceramics from recycled remnants of his village.

Although rarely seen by the public, such work is often used as inspiration by mainstream artists, many of whom have curated the inaugural exhibition.

But before you get a peek, you’ll have to find the anonymous black door of a former dairy and recording studio hidden down a back alleyway in Primrose Hill. Word is out. Art is in. The Museum of Everything, Sharpleshall Street, NW1 8YN (020 7957 5325 or museumofeverything.com).

Photo and article: Courtesy of The Museum of Everything

Monday, October 19, 2009

Inky Wings equals unparalleled art from England........

No one is better than Judith McNichol. There I said it. Her birdhouses are random and spectacular. Her found metal objects are so damn appealing. Her drawings are obsessive.......really obsessive and wonderful. Some of the larger ones.....six or seven feet long, allow you to choose a small space and get lost in the tiny detail. Back up and see that detail take on a larger voice in another form, back up again and it becomes a piece of an even larger puzzle. I am stunned by the intricacy and beauty of her work, and will someday try to photograph a huge piece which is presently rolled in a large tube in the closet. It would take up an entire wall, and deserves to do so! But I wouldn't have windows to the outside anymore.....only to the inside of a great artist.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cynthia Rogers, a recycler of memories.......

Assemblage constructions are what Cynthia Rogers creates from "found objects, juxtaposed in surprising ways, subverting reason and bringing to the forefront subconscious associations, meanings and metaphors that express (Cynthia's) response to contemporary life."

This California artist has quite a vocabulary, made up of simple treasures and bits of flotsam and jetsam which are familiar and yet a little strange at the same time. She spent endless hours as a child, beach-combing, in hopes of finding the illusive and colorful hand blown glass globes used in the Sea of Japan in fishing nets, and on her walks she collected the sea's offerings, as many of us have done. But, instead of just existing as a collection decorating a shelf, some of these items have found their way into her assemblages. Cynthia has returned to these roots and adds to her bounty "discarded objects once loved, now abandoned. It is a kind of consumer recycling program, where psychologically, all things are considered." Click on the title link and explore her site, which is filled with wondrous surprises.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jail and Museum do not usually end up in the same sentence....

Pedro Martin DeClet has come a very long way since his stint as head of the Latin Kings gang in the CT prison system. His works are now on display in the American Visionary Art Museum's newest show, Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness, curated by Roger Manley. Declet's Portrait de Genocide honors past martyrs in both the American Indian and Hispanic culture and is a powerful work with it's bleeding pictograph placed center stage. In another room is a hand-made book filled with paintings and paperwork which reflect his disavowal of the infamous gang, along with an altered book, a cross sculpture and a canvas carrying bag sporting a self-portrait. There is also a construction called El Philosopher which is made up of a time clock together with time cards hand painted by the artist. Pedro Martin DeClet is a man who does not look back, but rather reflects on a positive future. I thank Roger Manley for having an open mind and including these important works in his stellar show. It will run for close to a year and is worth the visit to the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, where the AVAM sits like a dazzling crowning jewel.
Photos courtesy of Roger Manley, curator

Friday, September 4, 2009

Judge for yourselves, the ART of Chris Mars

I'm simply giving you a quote and posting three works......the art of Chris Mars speaks volumes for itself. Do click on the title and spend some time ruminating on his works. It might not be your style, but boy, is he talented.
"From my hands, my mission: To free the oppressed; to champion the persecuted, and the submissive; to liberate through revelation the actualized Self in those proposed by some to have no self at all. It’s in every single one of us, somewhere underneath that word on our chest.
In my hands, my version: All art is political in some sense, be it through conformity, reflection, propaganda or rebellion. My paintings are rallies and trials, photographs of a moment when Truth was made public, and Mercy known.
Question why a villain is villainized, a victim martyred. Ask why a group is demonized, and the motives for control. See for yourself what the truth looks like in your hands. Dig it up and hold it for a while. This work you see, it’s my Truth. But please don’t take my word for it."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

With pen in hand.......

Johannesburg artist, Charles Munro's work is complex and humorous, strange, yet strangely appealing. Judge for yourself.....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

With love from Bonwit Teller.......

First collect engravings.....the older the better. Then dissect them and place into various categories. Then assemble them into fanciful collages. Then comes the hand painting. Then the sponged mats. Finally the flea market frames and the tongue in cheek titles. Or maybe that came first. Anyway, this is the art of Anthony Guyther. His works have been seen in fashion windows in NY since the 1960's, and now they decorate the walls of many collectors who always have to have more than one. He is a master at what he does, an artist's artist. And he is still going strong. The collage illustrated here is "Birdman and His Birddog", which utilizes 9 engravings. More of his work can be seen at Beverly Kaye Gallery and by clicking on the title.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The seductive colors of Helga Hornung

Another German artist of note is Helga Hornung. A famous children's book author and illustrator, as well as a formidable artist in the gallery and museum world, her saturated colors and lyrical style seduce the viewer. After three weeks of rain, these paintings certainly brightened my day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Alexandra Huber in America Show

The long awaited "Alexandra Huber in America " show is now open at the gallery in CT and on-line here
I met with her German agent in New York recently, and hand-picked these powerful and hopeful pieces which fit the climate of the day. Huber's newest museum catalogues are also available, and the gallery has a large portfolio of this international star's works. Dozens of works on the website will satisfy the hungriest of appetites for Huber's mesmerizing art.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rooms of the imagination....

Roger Hinds is creating the most intricate and engaging assemblages. A Rooms of the Mind series keeps on getting better and better.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The real Mckoy comes to CT......

Karl Mckoy's assemblage faces are filled with elements that grab your attention, and keep it. Strong portraits that stare you in the face and sorta make you want to look away.......and yet you don't. Very artbrut in feel, loaded with texture, sand, paper, wire, grids, photographs, stones, and so on. When the Outsider Art fair was at the Puck Building in New York City, this self-taught artist used to stand, braving the frigid Winter nights, and sell his pieces on the street, to collectors who would save some of their cash each year, to acquire a new example of his work. He had a very loyal following. But then the show moved to another location, which forbids street "vendors", and the collectors had to go without. Well, now his work is available here, and more is on it's way. I am thrilled to have this powerful work at the gallery.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Button Girl comes to sculpture show......

Sandy Mastroni's front door opens and I am entranced and delighted each and every time. Although I was there for new paintings to post on the gallery blog, several little figures popped into sight. Button Girl won my heart right away, and will be offered on a table of "smalls" at the 16th annual Sculpture in The Garden Show the first weekend in June. So will the wee ballerina. Oddities are always welcome here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sew fine.......Carol Es

Carol Es is an artist whose works reflects an ongoing struggle with the past as well as success with the present. She often hid in the bowling alley and created art, instead of attending school. She was later influenced by work she did in a sewing factory, and  often employs fabric, patterns and thread with her newer works. But this earlier piece is 30" x 40", mixed media on paper and is a prime example of her art. It's called "Poor Little Angels" and is $2500. Carol's handmade books have won her national acclaim and are part of permanent museum collections. A multi-talented artist.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ronald Sloan revealed.........

For over 40 years, this artist has been obsessively painting his interior life. He is a superb storyteller and although very strong, his images demand examination. Day books, paintings on paper, board and canvas, as well as "mail art" are part of the huge portfolio at the gallery. Click on the title and you will be brought to several pages of his early work. Pour a glass of wine, sit down and enjoy.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Moon over Miami?

In searching through some of the stuff under the bed, I rediscovered this goody from long, long ago. It's full bodied, probably plaster of paris or light weight wood, hand painted on both sides, and about 24" tall. The creator remains anonymous and this delightful moon will be posted on my site for sale in about a month, but you can have it now for $100. This is my version of spring cleaning!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Art, the saving grace

Amy Myers runs an art program at the Living Museum Art Center at Harbor House in San Pedro California, where 250 people live with debilitating mental challenges. Some  of the residents are creating very appealing art, which can be purchased through this program. All of the money goes to the artists, and both they and their creations are so very worthy. Do stop in to see then if you are ever in the area.
Here are two works by Susan Gibins, a Geisha painting and one called Police Violence. Watts Tower is lovingly done by Osbourn Turner.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oodles of doodles.......

As it succinctly says on his website," Ian Pyper creates drawings; he induces visions. Pyper uses marker, watercolor and paper, like a caveman used burnt wood, spit and a hard rock wall, to show us clearly what he sees." This entirely self-taught and outsider artist from the UK wows his audience with a cacophony of color and line, dots and doodles, and wins an ever larger audience each time. Paper saturated with watercolor and ink mesmerize the eye and spirit alike. I like!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Auction of Outsider Art, Folk Art and more.....

Do you crave seeing great Outsider, Artbrut, and Folk Art, all under one roof? Well, Steve and Amy Slotin are presenting one of their amazing Folk Art Auctions on March 28th in Buford, GA. Their catalogue is on-line and this couple are very well respected in the art and auction community. They also put out a feast which they simply call breakfast, before the fun begins. I see face jugs galore, furniture, carvings and really interesting paintings from well know collections. Take a look for yourselves, and enjoy! Well worth the trip!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Outsider Art shown at German Fair

Here is a view of the Alexandra Huber paintings hanging at the Artfair in Karlsruhe in Germany last week. Despite the shaky economy, her work sold very well, an encouraging sign!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Are we blue? Our world is too! Outsider Art

We are not the only ones feeling blue these uncertain days. The earth that we live on, that supports us in every way, is also blue. Alexandra Huber's "Man on a Blue World", my title, not hers, is a wonderful depiction of the state we are in. Her smalls (6" x 6") capture our daily thoughts, musings and dreams in a charming childlike way, filled with adult sensibility. Think Dubuffet, Basquiat. Alexandra just returned from the famous Artfair in Karlsruhe, Germany, and in her words, " it was very successful, despite the crisis." Click on the title and see many more of these little gems. $450