Ed i t e d b y A n n e Marie Grgich w i t h D e n i s e J u ppe Cu r a t e d b y An n e M a r i e G r gich an d C o l i n R h o d es Es s a y b y To m Patterson an d C h a r l e s B e nefiel
N OR B ERT H . KO X BO OK DE SIG N BY A NNE MARIE GRGICH COPYRIGHT 201 0
I N TERNAL G UIDANCE S YST EMS
“Internal Guidance Systems presents the best of that art which lives at the heart of our lives and yet, curiously comes out of the margins. This is compelling work that grows out of its creators like a plant grows out of the ground taking the very fabric of contemporary life, it transmutates into signiﬁcant message. It speaks!” (Colin Rhodes, 2004) image: Lauren Atkinson/Donald Green
LAUREN ATKINSON?DONALD GREEN WHIDBY ISLAND, WA DONNA BALMA, NW RAIN FOREST, ROBERTS CREEK, CANADA SUZANE BEAUBRUN, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA JIM BLOOM , REDDING, PENNSYLVANIA EVE COHEN, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON ROBERT COLLISON, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA TED DEGENER, HANOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE HARTMUT EING/GALERIE HAMER, AMSTERDAM NOAH ERENBERG. ISLA VISTA. CALIFORNIA DAVID L. FORBES, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA PAUL GASOI, VASHON ISLAND, WASHINGTON ANNE GRGICH, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON ROBERT HARDGRAVE, SEATTLE MR. IMAGINATION A.K.A. GREGORY WARMACK PA DANIELLE JACQUI, FRANCE. NORBERT KOX, NEW FRANKEN, WISCONSIN DAMIAN LEBAS, UNITED KINGDOM DELAINE LEBAS, UNITED KINGDOM MARCUS MÅRTENSON, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN JUDITH MCNICOL, UNITED KINGDOM DAMIAN MICHAELS, MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRAILIA TOM MURRIN, NEW YORK, NY/LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA ADAM NIDZGORSKI, FRANCE ALISON O’DONOGHUE, PORTLAND, OREGON ROBIN ELNA OLIVER, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON KRISTIAN OLSON, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA FRED RINNE, SAN FRANSISCO, CALIFORNIA HUSTON RIPLEY, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA ODY SABAN, PARIS, FRANCE KEVIN SAMPSON, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY JAY SCHUETTE, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA DAVE SEEHAUSEN/VIDEOGRAPHER, NEW YORK, NY CYNTHIA LUND TORROLL NEW BERLIN, WISCONSIN CATHARYNE WARD UNITED KINGDOM DELLA WELLS, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN. SCOTT WILLIAMS, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA. ERIC WRIGHT, UNITED KINGDOM/UNITED STATES
INTERNAL GUIDANCE SYSTEMS
Notes on Visionary Art, Counterculture, and the Eroding Border between Insider and Outsider by Tom Patterson Tom Patterson is the author of books about visionary artists St. EOM and Howard Finster, as well as other publications on self-taught American artists. For the last twenty years he has made his living as an independent writer, critic, and curator, whose writings have appeared in Raw Vision , Folk Art , Art Papers , ARTnews , BOMB and other art periodicals. He lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Thoughts On The Need For Responsible Being Our lives, in unison, are like a greater language, constantly refining as we evolve. by Charles Benefiel, 2006 Intoduction by Marcus Martenson Dedicated to my son Jasper Cousell and Kurtiss Loftstrom. Special Thanks to Colin Rhodes and Tad Reedy, and Jenifer P. Borum. P.S. by 2009 the show morphed in Folk Magic and Curious Objects.
DONNA BALMA CA “LENTIS”
Balma’s consistent struggle has been to transform the human body from what had be come a site of mental and spiritual despair into a mystical and spiritual site of pleasure.
CATHY WARD UK TRESSURE RISE 2004
Notes on Visionary Art, Counterculture, and the Eroding Border between Insider and Outsider 1. What’s New by Tom Patterson, 2008 The phrase “internal guidance systems” alludes to imagination or visionary consciousness as a primary source of artisticinspiration and motivation. Artist Paul Gasoi coined it in reference to his own deeply intuitive artistic practice, but he agrees with his contemporary Anne Grgich that it’s an equally apt designation for the inner forces driving her creative work and that of the other artists in this exhibition. As the show’s principal curator as well as one of its exhibiting artists, Grgich join s a long list of predecessors in advancing a time-honored tradition, the artist-curated show. This kind of crossover is very rare, though, in the field of outsider and visionary art, where Grgich’s collaged paintings and objects (books, surfboards etc.) have become well known over the last ten years, and where a number of the other artists in the show have also established reputations. Fundamental to the mythology that surrounds such art is the notion that the artists are obsessively focused on their own work to the exclusion of any interest in other art, and relatively unconcerned with their art’s public presentation or with opportunities to network with other artists. Such assumptions aren’t borne out by the facts, though, especially when it comes to recent developments in the field. Grgich says the concept for this exhibition was hatched in a conversation she had in the fall of 2002 with Gasoi and two other artists, Charles Benefiel and Robin Oliver. As they discussed the prospect of independently organizing a show of their work and that of other likeminded artists, Grgich decided to assume the active role in making that happen, and she began contacting artists she wanted to include. As the project evolved, she solicited the expert advice of art scholar Colin Rhodes, who put her in touch with a number of additional artists. The result of their efforts is an unprecedented, artist-driven show of works by thirty largely self-taught artists from across the United States and Europe. All of them have long been engaged in making art derived from their own “internal guidance systems,” where ideas meet visions to spawn visionary images. Grgich has referred to these artists, herself among them, as exponents of a new art movement, but they clearly don’t constitute a movement in the usual sense of working in the same style or from a common theoretical basis. On the contrary, they work out of deeply personal motivations and in distinctively individual styles that they’ve developed largely without reference to art theory or input from academic authorities. Because more than half of them are under fifty--relatively young by outsider-art standards--and all of them are sophisticated in their dealings with the world, they represent a new breed of self-aware and self-empowered selftaught artists. 2. Countercultural currents Grgich and all but a few of the other artists in the exhibition share the experience of having grown up in the 1960s and 70s, when Western societies were absorbing the profound influence of a newly emerged, politically and philosophically subversive counterculture. Most of them have identified to varying degrees with the countercultural impulse that took widespread root during that era, and many have participated in latter-day countercultural communities in addition to their present, loosely defined community as participants in IGS. The fact that their work is informed in various ways by countercultural ideas and values gives them a special--and problematical--place in the outsider/visionary field, in part because the field itself has been so profoundly influenced by the counterculture. In her groundbreaking book The Temptation: Edgar Tolson and the Genesis of Twentieth-Century Folk Art (University of North Carolina Press, 1998), Julia Ardery discusses the impact that the burgeoning counterculture of the 1960s had on the growing appreciation for contemporary folk art in that era. Her focus necessarily confines that discussion to the link between the counterculture’s socio-politicial-activist wing and Southern Appalachian folk art, but I think she’s onto something with larger implications. A case can readily be made for the strong influence of counterculture, more broadly defined, on the reception of the whole range of folk, outsider, and visionary art. Prior to the 1960s, interest in such art was confined to a very small community of enthusiasts in a few cities. But this art had obvious potential appeal for an emergent generation of young people who valued independence and authenticity, and who distrusted authority. Some of the more intellectually and artistically inclined exponents of that generation were introduced to these non-academic art forms through art and folklore departments at colleges and universities across the country. After completing their formal educations, a number of these hip academics went on to earn reputations as leading scholars, collectors, and dealers in the folk/outsider/visionary art field.Their enthusiastic proselytizing for this art laid the groundwork for the field as we now know it--a kind of counterculture in its own right.
Before pursuing this line of discussion any further, let’s clarify terminology. In using the term counterculture, I’m not just referring to a bygone social movement of forty years ago. I’m talking about an ongoing phenomenon whose origins can be traced into the ancient past and to far-flung locales stretching from Greece across India to Japan. "Counterculture blooms wherever and whenever a few members of society choose lifestyles, artistic expressions, and ways of thinking and being that wholeheartedly embrace the ancient axiom that the only true constant is change itself. The mark of counterculture is not a particular social form or structure, but rather the evanescence of forms and structures, the dazzling rapidity and flexibility with which they appear, mutate and morph into one another and disappear....." The quote is from the late countercultural avatar Timothy Leary, in his posthumously published introduction to Ken Goffman’s useful history, Counterculture through the Ages (Villard, 2004). And speaking of Leary.... 3. Tripping A key feature of counterculture historically has been the premium it places on ecstasy, visionary consciousness, and other alternative modes of perception. Long viewed as the exclusive purview of mystics and other spiritual adepts, such mind states and perceptual modes became almost universally accessible in the 1960s, thanks to the mass popularization and distribution of psychedelics. Widespread and uncontrolled experimentation with these mind-expanding compounds produced mixed results, to say the least, as many consumers of them were ill-prepared for the powerful experiences they generated. Individuals who are psychologically fragile or otherwise undergoing personal turmoil can have very rough times under their influence. Others have found the experience profoundly illuminating, life-transforming, and worthy of revisiting occasionally if not often, as is evidenced by the steady underground market for psychedelics. One need not have had direct experience with psychedelics in order to have been touched by their influence or aware of their impact on Western art and culture over the last fifty years. Despite the fact that most psychedelics have been harshly (and unwisely) criminalized, there’s no question that they’ve rendered society more familiar with and, to an extent, more receptive to new mental landscapes and perceptual modes very different from those we regularly use in navigating ordinary reality. I would argue that these developments were instrumental in the steady growth of interest in outsider and visionary art since 1970. In the socially egalitarian light of countercultural philosophy, the art of independently motivated, academically untrained individuals was more readily accepted as aesthetically valid--perhaps especially when these artists spoke of being inspired by otherworldly visions. The more widespread acknowledgment of unconventional lifestyles and previously unfamiliar ways of thinking and visualizing rendered society further open to the art of outsiders and visionaries. This trend gathered major momentum in the early 1980s, when the audience for such art expanded to include some very popular rock-music performers (Michael Stipe, David Byrne, et al), who in turn introduced thousands of their fans to it. These developments have strongly impacted the cultural climate in which artistically inclined young people develop and channel their skills. For those who like to draw, paint, or make other forms of visual art, the countercultural scenes that have sprouted in urban areas across the U.S. and Europe provide alternative communities of mutual, genre-mixing interest that might appear more hospitable than art schools--not to mention more fun and far less expensive. A number of those who tried art school eventually dropped out but remained active in their local “underground” scenes, and some of the more talented, clever and ambitious or fortunate ones have earned national or even international recognition. The growth of the Internet has led to national and international networking among participants in these scenes and amplified their impact as alternatives to the “official” art world. And in recent years the official art world has been increasingly willing to embrace these phenomena. 4. Further..... In these comments I’ve tried to outline what I see as the larger social and philosophical context for the exhibition at hand. Not every artist in it fits the loose profile of countercultural engagement I’ve sketched out here, but the vast majority of them do in one way or another, and the show has been organized through just the kind of Internetworking mentioned above. The old paradigm of the outsider artist highlights social isolation and naivete about the workings of the world as signal traits of such artists. Those players in the outsider-art field who have attempted to police its borders are uneasy about artists who--despite being self-taught and visionarily motivated--are savvy enough to have their own websites, organize among themselves, and otherwise promote their own work. But the emergence of artists like those represented in IGS is just one of many signs that the old borders between insider and outsider are rapidly eroding with the advance of a new millennium--the better to accommodate an expanded view of art and what it can mean to our continually evolving understanding of reality. Internally guided but socially and (counter)culturally interlinked, these artists are working in ways that reveal new, illuminating perspectives on these matters. *
JAY S C H U E T T E DESER T C H I LD I.G.S. at T R A C K 1 6 G A L L E RY APRIL 2008
Schuette is painting imaginary people, but underneath, his paintings reflect tiny vignettes that are sometimes frightening yet often humorous personal experiences. Schuette has work included in many prestigious collections including the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art in Orlando, Florida in addition has had two one-person exhibitions in New York City.
EVE C O H E N S E AT T L E WA There are very few places we can go to today and truly find a healing community where we can share our life experiences and support one another. This can possibly be done at an AA meeting or in some churches or spiritual retreats but for the most part people are isolated and on their own. The meaningful messages that come to us from the depths of our soul are often so subtle that it takes a lot of effort at to give them room and take them seriously. But once one does this then one can start a communication that can last a lifetime. This is what Internal Guidance Systems is all about. By Marcus Martenson, Stolkholm Sweden 2007
Internal Guidance Systems is a group show that artist Anne Grgich has put together with the author Colin Rhodes. It’s a large scale exhibit with artists from both the United States and abroad. It presents a rich tapestry of images in many different styles. The fact that a crisis can unleash creativity is widely known. By coming close to psychosis, almost dying, going into a coma, being subjected to racism, all these things are examples of things that can change a persons perspective. They can also make an individual break free from an earlier more limited view of themselves and the world and instead make them see more. This is what visionary art is all about. It’s the testament of individuals who often have been close to the edge and therefore have stories to tell about these places. It’s often the case that through surviving these experiences one gains access to a deeper dimension within ones own psyche/soul. The artist who expresses this newfound reality becomes a sort of conduit or messenger of the collective unconscious. He or she speaks now from a place that is both his own but at the same time everyone else’s. Therefore this art can serve as a roadmap or signpost of the human soul. Traditionally Christianity was the collective myth of the spirit in the western world. But the Christian story has gradually ceased to supply nourishment for modern man. The old myths and stories have been done away with and haven’t been replaced by new ones. In this way the visionary artist can be seen as a pioneer by keeping the language of the soul alive and sharing it with the rest of us. By following the ebbs and flows of his or her inner reality the visionary artist is guided from the inside out and not from the outside in like so many others. The cathartic and healing power in that can be gained by realigning to the images and symbols of ones own soul is also inherent in this work. By establishing a relationship to ones own inner life through art one can create a connection that has been lost by many modern day men and women. Today many people feel as if they have become disconnected from the source. Instead now we float aimlessly around in a sea of commerce and branding, where we are bombarded on all fronts by corporations and their rhetoric. We are to consume and there we shall find our meaning. The western society has become one that lives from the outside and in. We no longer have the means to transcend the outer world and communally participate in the inner journey. There are very few places we can go to today and truly find a healing community where we can share our life experiences and support one another. This can possibly be done at an AA meeting or in some churches or spiritual retreats but for the most part people are isolated and on their own. The meaningful messages that come to us from the depths of our soul are often so subtle that it takes a lot of effort at to give them room and take them seriously. But once one does this then one can start a communication that can last a lifetime. This is what Internal Guidance Systems is all about. Marcus Martenson, Stolkholm Sweden Images by Lauren Atkinson/Donald Green
TRA C K 1 6 G A L L E RY APR I L 2 0 0 8
ROBERT C O L L I S O N WILD AFRIC A N D O G S back Tom M urrin , right: N oah Erenberg
REVER E N D H . D . D E N N I S BY DAV E S E E H A U S E N N Y FI LM & Video
CATHARYNE WARD UK
NY. With a varied background in film and video production; working on music videos, commercials and documentaries, David Seehausen became involved in the world of SelfTaught or Outsider Art in the early ninties. His involvement began as the Producer/ Director of documentary profiles on the artists: R A Miller, Jimmie Lee Sudduth, Lonnie Holley and Purvis Young. These programs where shown on the Buffalo-Toronto PBS affiliate WNED, as well as touring with major exhibits of Self-Taught Art. Additionally he began curating exhibits featuring the these artists along with others such as Thornton Dial and the Quilters of Gee’s Bend. David has continued to produce the profiles, most recently on Mary Proctor and H D Dennis. He’s currently developing a series featuring Self-Taught Artists of the South that will air on the Documentary Channel. He’s also writer/director of the feature-length independent film “Swede Hill”.
ERIC WRIGHT UK
Eric Wright paints scenes that employ a personal narrative. This narrative explores an inner landscape in a cathartic spirit and in doing so conjures images laden with an almost familiar symbolism, which ultimately is known only to the artist. He also embarks on seemingly straight forward portraits which on closer inspection reveal a disturbing quality that is an expression of the himself rather than the subject. His style is a unique form or realism that amalgamates attempts at renaissance composition with television painter Bob Rossâ€™ wet on wet technique.
LAU R E N ATK IN S ON & DONALD GREEN WHIDBY I S. WA
LAUREN ATKINSON & DO NALD G REEN WHI DBY I S. WA
Remaining open to the possibility of worlds that co-exist and can only be seen through our peripheral sight is a phenomenon that we find intriguing. The active process of slowing down, allowing our other senses to surface from the darkness creates the opportunity to communicate from our collective subconscious. Atkinson/Green 2005
SUZANE BEAUBRUN SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA
Don’t Tread On Me (Culpepper Flag) 2006 This piece combines symbols from Haitian Voudun, Ethiopian Christianity, The American Black Power movement and a popular flag of the American Revolution. It is of note that the flag is currently back in use by the American navy during our “ War on Terror”.
CYNTHIA LUND TORROLL NEW BERLIN WISCONSIN
DELAINE LEBAS UK
DELLA WELLS â€˜ MILWAUKEE WISCONSIN
Wells paints stories and creates psychological imaginative worlds,depicting a wise viewpoint on society in mystical combination witha brilliant African American spiritualism that fills her canvases.
ODY SABAN PARIS FRANCE
When she draws, Ody Saban is like a person weeping, passive, piteous, as if afflicted. Barefoot and huddled upon herself, she peers down at the reflection on the frozen paper. Soon she begins to release a strange expressive outpouring, a visual glossolalia which spawns the signs of a new alphabet of passion. In truth, she doesn’t draw, she embroiders. She doesn’t write, she sighs. She doesn’t kiss, she bites. Her ever nimble calligraphy can give shape to a volcano or aneruption of birds, and wherever it passes, it inspires the crackling tattoo of dozens of declarations of love. Hybrids born in the gap between verbal phrase and pictorial figure, the traces left on the surface by these scribblings are like so many scratches surprised upon a bare shoulder. It’s as if Ody’s tremulous pen were sketching a call to departure, speaking of migration, of exile, of remote spaces to be crossed on the journey from today’s nest to tomorrow’s cloud. Yet, like constellations drowned in black ink, her little shapes struggle to emerge from obscurity; within the warm shadows,they seem muffled, pressed against a lazed and perfect skin. This indefinable embrace emits a continuous undulating murmur within which may coil a rare and striking turn of phrase: “This is not a night of insomnia, it’s entire days of insomnia” by Roger Cardinal
Thoughts On The Need For Responsible Being Our lives, in unison, are like a greater language, constantly refining as we evolve. by Charles Benefiel, 2006 All the world around us is guided by reaction to previous actions. It is the great complexity of life, compounded by the introduction of an unknowable number of variables each second. In this world all human endeavor is connected, and as thinking beings we have invented great abstracted systems to help guide our development as a species. Mathematics, physics, language, art and religion share this category, and each serves its own unique purpose. As a result, human beings have created the illusion of greater control over the visible, and through a fear of the unknown we have become distracted by the desire for the static and the material. But the material we manipulate is only a byproduct of the immaterial; the abstract systems of thought that guide all of our actions and manifest our desires. Human hands have designed everything that we have come to depend on in our daily existence, and incredibly all of our inventions are the result of the overlapping of other unrelated creations meant to solve completely different problems. No one could have ever forseen these patterns of usage and development. Our technology has developed itâ€™s own evolution free of reasoned predictability. Creativity is intrinsic to human development and survival. However, the nature of human creativity allows our invented solutions to represent an approximation of stability for only a short period of time. As objects wear down and innovations compound, and as knowledge is passed faster via external communication networks, all that appears stable also appears out of control. Utopia is never finished, but instead it is a constant work in progress, continually combining various notions of perfection from the past with those of the present. The future is nothing more than an ethereal set of abstractions, guided by present problems and our desire to control reality. In this way the past and present are in constant tension with each other, as every generation must correct the problems created by their predecessors. Our ancestors, in turn, were looking to solve earlier problems left behind for them by their predecessors. All of what we perceive to be the world is guided by thought, and that is why it is so important to show great discipline in how we think. We are nothing more than the culmination of our actions, and history the bones of their expression. By falling under the spell of negative thinking (either about others or ourselves) we lose control of our effectiveness, and relinquish our rights to the responsibilities that we demand others to fulfill. In this atmosphere undisciplined thought will result in fear and hinder our development as individuals. It is in this way that we pick our stations in this life and invent the nature of attractions that will affect our ability to be happy and centered. By comparing ourselves to others we also invent our perceived enemies who help us manifest our collective destinies. As these patterns and associations develop over great lengths of time, our cultures begin to perceive themselves and their relationships to each other. These amassed behaviors, and the continual reactions to those behaviors, which become our prevailing models, affect our civilization. In physics this would be referred to as cause and effect, where all particles of matter are either directly or indirectly affected by each other throughout the known universe.
Every human being is beautiful and full of great potential, and yet most people do not wish to free themselves from these learned behaviors that hurt their chances at improving their effectiveness and happiness among others. It is the difference between the many and the few- the many held back by fear, and the few willing to use fear as a source of motivation in order to overcome it. Fear is inevitable, as it is intrinsic to our sense of survival in guiding all of our decisions, and it is the continual overcoming of fear that will forever change our individual worlds. All acts of violence are directly linked to fear, and all acts of hatred are an expression of cowardice.
Careful and disciplined thought, along with the continual re-evaluation of all experiences, will lead one to the development of a sort of personal intrinsic knowledge, and this can only occur through great patience and acceptance. In this frame of mind, all of oneâ€™s experiences make the individual beautiful, and all of what appear to be scars become nothing more than a record of the lessons that we have manifested for ourselves. The repetition of weak and reactionary thought only prolong and transfer misery between those who choose to enforce fear as an expression of power. With each repetition the cycle of weakness reinforces itself, and it becomes a path of least resistance. Such a path can become a comfortable way of assigning blame away from ourselves, and relinquishing our responsibilities as human beings to others. In a world fraught with the need for immediate judgement, we choose our allegiances superficially, and we have come to rely on the physical for self-esteem and gratification. Our lives can become great oceans of rhetoric, on which others cannot pass. It is here that one embraces ignorance and victimization, and becomes a regular participant in wrong actions. This is the path of laziness, and it leads one to the retardation of the soul and personal development. As human beings we are temporal in this world, and only a small part of a greater whole. Our bodies, like the material universe around us, are made up of matter that has transformed itself over and over again since the beginning of time. Every atom within our bodies is the result of evolutionary decisions dictated by need, passed on by all of the generations that have preceded us, most of which are living creatures we fear to recognize as our own. All that resides in our bodies is not all that resided in our bodies at our inception. Instead, we continue to shed almost all that is within us up until we achieve death. The relationship between the matter within us is temporal, though the matter itself is eternal. This is the false illusion that we have determined in assigning what we perceive to be the realms of the living and the non-living. Where there is energy in matter there is life. In this way all of life and all of death are forever dependent on each other, and act as vehicles of further transformation toward ourservice of the greater universal. Our bodies reflect the health of our minds, and our genes encode our behaviors for future generations. This is the legacy we inherit and pass on as a road map of our shared sense of purpose. What we leave behind for others to share in future generations is the measure of our value, and the ultimate redemption of our existence. Charles Benefiel images Courtesy of The American Primitive Gallery, New York, NY.
C HA R LE S B EN E FIEL PA
KRI STI AN O LSO N CA.
HUS TO N R I P L E Y PA .
Ripley draws with ďŹ ne pen onto multi-layered tissues allowing the ink to bleed into the lower layers creating a visual depth built with meticulously detailed universal shapes and symbols and structures found within the epic pantheon of the unconscious. Untitled, 13 x 19â€? 2003
N O AH ERENBERG I S L A VISTA C A LIFORNIA
Erenberg an established artist from Isla Vista, California, has presented his work in countless art exhibitions across the country. His art work has garnered rave reviews, describing his pieces as novel, intuitive, and remarkable. I am inspired by words and symbols. I make abstract paintings and drawings because I like bright colors and crazy shapes. Abstract paintings remind me of hip hop music. The abstract shapes come out of my head. Abstract means from my head. Noah Erenberg is a 36 year old man challenged with developmental differences and has been a professional artist for the last ten years. (Elena Siff Erenberg)
EVE C O H E N SEAT T L E WA S H I N G TO N HYB R I D S
I design and sculpt figures from parade trash, household refuse and natureâ€™s detritus. This raw compost directs my investigation into gender and character development. My desire is to bring new life to something spent, discarded or fallen. These creatures belong to an unconformed kingdom of human, animal, and other. By Eve Cohen
RO B I N O L I V E R SE AT T L E WA S H I N G TO N
Oliver is a self-taught visionary artist and musician from Tucson Arizona. She uses any and every medium to describe her dreams and visions.“Some times I have a plan but mostly I wait for the sweet honey light which drips down upon my head from the generous sky.” IMAGE: “Foclanamara”
DAMIAN AND DELAINE LEBAS UK
HARTMUT EING GERMANY VISSER
Hartmut Eïng was born in 1938 Oisterwick, Germany. After he trained as a surveyor, he realized that he preferred to work with children and became schoolteacher, which gave him more leisure time for painting. He married and settled down in Northern Germany at the Elbe estuary. His wife became a well-known primitive painter and the couple became involved in local ecological defence, which is reflected in Hartmut’s work. Paul Klee, who also admired children’s drawings, influenced his early work. In his later work German expressionism inspired his warm and rich personal palette. In the world of Hartmut Eïng one sees man struggle with the elements, hunt whale for survival, construct high and solid buildings for safety against wind and water, and performing mysterious rituals. His paintings show archetypal scenes of man’s fate depicted with serenity.
DAMIAN MICHAELS MELBOURNE VI CTO RI A AU THE WELL Damian Michaels colors an uneasy solitary universe, these spiritual worlds are laden with religious symbolism. Damian draws highly detailed visions that painstakingly transmit a tension that acts as intermediaries between occult forces and the visible world.
CY N THIA LUND TORROLL dichotimized new berlin Wisconsin Torroll draws you into her stark and compelling vision to a romantic dark place ormythological confrontation in sharp focus drawn with fantastic realism using emotionally charged portraiture.
DONNA BALMA NW RAINFORREST ROBERTS CREEK CANADA
Land of Lentis forms a cosmology with two main groups of members –the citizens, and the “modahls” who are the spiritual guides to the ordinary people. Balma explained how she could barely keep up with a series of black and white drawings that seemed to flow spontaneously and without her asking, presenting her with Lentis’s architecture, culture and social structure. Some of her drawings reveal the Lentis people doing all manner of things in the town centre, the focus of everything. Lentis, for Balma, is a parallel world where her visions are free to be expressed.
Alison O’D ono GHue PDX
JIM BLOOM PENNSYLVANIA
SUZANE BEAUBRUN, SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA
“Ti Bon Angela 2006” This painting uses the voudun symbol Ti Bon Anj - “ The good little angel”. It represents the part of the soul responsible for identity and moral conscience. Angela Davis at the center is a reflection of how an individual’s struggle for justice affects the very spirit of another.
ADAM NIDZGORSKI FRANCE
HART M U T E I N G G E R M A N Y
ANN E M A R I E G R G I C H SEAT T L E WA
this page : Ody Saban PARIS FRANCE right: NORBERT H. kOx New F ranken Wisconsin Scrubbed
ROBE RT C O L L I S O N SAN F R A N C I S C O C A .
“My name’s Robert Collison. I’ve been Anne Grgich’s friend since 1982-- young art punks in Portland, Oregon. We’d spend whole days rummaging & rampaging through the downtown blocks, acting it out on Super-8, only to find the camera never had any film. We studied art and made art and encountered a pile of trash on the street and had an epiphany it was “true” art. The Day We Met Collage God. I moved to San Francisco in 1985 and Anne lived down here then and we’ve stayed close over the years. Along the way she’s always pushed me to show my work, even today. These pictures I’ve worked on since 2002. These things are all about finding bits of things at random, re-combining them and just letting them find their own natural flow. I enjoy making this stuff, picking up things off the ground, gluing, etc. once I get into it I can’t stop--that’s honestly the only reason I do it. Compulsive behavior.” RC 2007
KEVIN S A M P S O N NEWAR K N E W J E R S E Y
“Eureka two jacks and some beans” (top)
Long before I started making sculptures I drew...... I was a Police composite sketch artist for many years. I spent many hours drawing in the past and as I grow older it seems as though I‘m returning to my roots I am known as a artist who makes work from found objects. But as I age I am realizing that at times I need to be able to voice my opinions and observations in a more clear manner. One which is not so open to conjecture.......as sculpture can some times be. This particular image is a play on jack and the Bean stalk ...............two guys more or less attempting to break into the gates of heaven. by Kevin Sampson “St. John’s” MM Sculpture (left bottom) “Uncle Sammy” (right)
JUDITH M C N I C O L UNITED K I N G D O M My drawings are maps of my inner universe. The line I draw never wants to end; it is on a compelling quest for the universal equation, the map that explains all. I never know where the line will lead, but I trust it to take me where it needs to go, to a deep inner space where I can breathe, and see everything that is, ever has been, and will be. These maps are working expressions of that inner cosmos, its inhabitants and the emotional, physical and psychic rules that govern its behavior. The final model has not yet been defined, but each map forms a minute component of the whole. My lifeâ€™s purpose is to explore and better understand this cosmos through my pen, as it leads me on this sacred journey.
N O R B E RT K O X N E W F R A N K E N W I S C ONSIN
Norbert H. Kox’s apocalyptic visionary paintings and gothic constructions confront us with God’s prophetic warnings and encrypted revelations and are riddled with “bible codes” (equidistant letters he finds in a computerized grid of Hebrew letters). Photograph by Cathy Ward UK
DAVID L. FORRBES LA, CA
CATHARYNE WARD UK Hair as Text - Doug Harvey
Cathy Wards impossibly detailed scratch board drawings of mounds, waves, and curlicues of human hair conflate a historically informed twenty first century art practise with a nineteenth century eccentricity, fusing it into a seamlessly unified field of locks and tresses. Hair is one of the most fetishized parts - certainly the most publicly fetishized part- of the human body. It is moulded, edited, removed, extended, and orchestrated into a three dimensional sculptural signal encompassing all manner of personal, social, political, sexual, and spiritual information about its flesh pedestal. From Samson to Rapunzal, mythology and folklore are rife with examples of the coiffure as portent, and anyone who lived through the 60’s and early 70’s knows the depth and intensity of import that can be gleaned from just a few inches of the stuff. Hair’s capacity to act as signifier derives largely from its metaphorical relationship to text - as an accumulation of linear expressions from the inner body to the outside world, dead records marking time in direct proportion to lived experience, chronicling entire periods of our lives in a few subtle and ephemeral twists. This ephemerality indicated the hairs linguistic model is that of the oral tradition: hair signals must be continually maintained, and they are constantly subject to elaboration or modification. Documentary media may record one moment of a constantly evolving language, but fixing the language itself is a trickier proposition. Ward’s work is partially rooted in the obsessive eulogization seen in Victorian hair wreaths - where the grief of the bereaved is methodically, laboriously recoded into a narrative artefact, a mandala woven from the linear detritus of the loved ones life, making contained, cyclical sense out of a suddenly truncated story line. In Ward’s methodically delineated vistas, no such tidy resolution is sought, at least not in a final form. Instead, elaborate ornamental knots emerge from a chaos of uncensored follicle transmissions - allowing the rational, apollonian impulse its place, but refusing to identify it as The Source. Ward’s work also transcends the metaphorical in two directions - towards the literal, in the drawings that impose or extract no imagery beyond the all over horror vacuii of hair as hair; and towards the transpersonal, where improbable, symbol-laden dream vistas emerge from the tangles skeins. These landscape and architectural fantasies reunite hair as a textual medium with the proverbial psychic roots of a story. Like an eidetic memory of a twilight vision glimpsed through the cascades of a mother’s or lover’s tresses, the vista opens upon mystery, miraculously transcending the awkwardness that should come with such a transition, yet inextricably entrenched in mammalian physiology. Doug Harvey is a practicing artist and art critic for LA. Weekly. His writing has appeared in Art issues, Art in America, The New York Times, and numerous other publications for museums and galleries.
ADAM NIDZGORSKI FRANCE
The Neo-Fake: SCOTT WILLIAMS
The Neo-Fake: Paintings and Stencils by Scott Williams, written by Laurie Steelink/Track 16 Williams is best known for his intricate stencil work which ranges in form from graffiti art, to handmade artists’ books, to textile design, to paintings on canvas. His rich and layered imagery includes architecture, appropriations from West Coast popular culture (i.e. Hollywood, pulp fiction), as well as historic and political figures. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Obsessive, lyrical, and mythical are a few words that come to mind when viewing Williams’ work. As quoted by Williams, “I try to drop hints of insane panic under the happy pop images, like a secret handshake.” And like a secret handshake, or a subversive code, William’s stenciled images leave the viewer deciphering the layers and seeking meaning in their hyper repetition. Williams culls from his repertoire of iconic images, and in a postpop-art-punk-rock-warholian fashion, he creates a new sense of urgency, a new “reality:” The Neo-Fake.
DAMIAN & DELAINE LEBAS UK
(top and lower right) Damian LeBas incorporates into his work imagery from popular culture and meditations on social injustice along with narrative elements deriving from both his partly Huguenot, partly Irish ancestry and from his personal history.
Delaine LeBas sews and paints an embroidered world where sublime little girls face the Big Bad Wolfâ€˘ in the quilted woods and the pieces are each sewn with rhinestones and to brighten up a dark world, with scratches made from needle and thread.
PAUL GASOI VASHON ISLAND WASHINGTON
Gasoi creates visceral works that automatically conjure images from an abstract flow to illustrate the multidimensional interactions he perceives as the on-going process of life itself.photo by Ted Degner
THE OUTSID E R FOLK A R T GALLE RY READIN G PA
JIM BLOOM Jim Bloom was born in Allentown, PA in 1968. Jim started his drawing career as a child. After high school he attended Temple University to study film-making, but left after a year to become a writer. Jim wanted something beyond what he saw offered in a conventional life, and lived an uninhibited lifestyle. In the 1990â€™s Jim sought medical help for mental health and dependency issues. He was given high dosages of neuroleptic medication. In the summer of 2000 Jim was involved in a car accident that resulted in serious back injuries. In 2002 he was diagnosed with the neurological movement disorder Dystonia, which is characterized by sustained, painful muscle contractions. Dystonia is listed as one of the possible side effects of the medication Bloom had been given under psychiatric care. It can also be caused by severe physical trauma.
MARCUS MÅRTENSON STOCKHOLM SWEDEN
My name is Marcus Mårtenson. I was born and raised in Stockholm Sweden but I moved to America when I was 6 years old. I lived there for 8 years and then I moved back to Sweden when I was 13. This was a great time in my life and moving away from America was real hard for me. My artwork contains lots of American motifs, and in a way my art is a way for me to reconnect to that America that I lost and had to leave behind. My art also contains lots of religious references, particular to Christianity. My grandfather was a priest in the Swedish church and I was really close to him when I grew up. Because both my parents traveled so much he took care of my brother and I a lot. He would talk to me about god and what he called “the invisible reality”, or the spiritual dimension that exists yet that we cant see.
Today I am a student of theology and find this to be a fascinating subject. I also study Jungian Psychology and I am very interested in seeing how we as humans can develop a new inclusive spiritual language that doesnâ€™t split apart but instead brings together. I collect random pieces of wood that I find\ on the city streets. With these I build mosaic like installations where I tell stories, reflect onmemories, or just speak about weird things that have inspired me. As far as artistic influences go I am inspired by both Swedish and American folk artists, but also lowbrow art, comics, and graffiti. One of my favorites is the Swedish artist Albertus Pictor who painted many interiors of Swedish churches in a naĂŻve style during the 15th century. Iâ€™m also a big fan of vintage horror films, rockabilly culture and stand up comedy.
DEL L A W E L L S W I S C O N S I N
During his time in Chicago he was shot during a robbery attempt. This near death experience put Mr.Imagination in a coma for over a month and a half. Meanwhile he was in the coma he describes himself as touching base with the source of life. Almost as if he had connected with all different nationalities from all over the world. After he emerged from the coma he started wandering the streets of Chicago with a renewed sense of purpose. He saw his survival as something special. Making him feel that every moment he had was precious. During one of his many walks he found some sandstone lying in a vacant lot. The material had been dumped there and he quickly saw its potential. When he looked at it he could see ancient faces that he started carving out. Since he has no formal schooling he used the tools that he had, a screw driver. The faces that came out looked more like kings and queens from eastern countries like India or Thailand than something from America. Finally he says that â€?art has been around for a long long time. The ďŹ rst self taught artists were the cavemen. They didnt have no schools teaching them how to do it. But they just saw a wall and thought that there was something about it that was too plain. They were born with a gift to draw these animals and they passed that on to people like you and me. Thats what Im doing, just passing on what I was given.â€?
MR. IMAGINATION A.K.A. GREGORY WARMACK BETHLEHAM PA
KRISTIAN OLSON LOS ANGELOS CALIFORNIA
Much of my work is autobiographical and deals with my own questioning of reality and religion. It is about loosening my mental grip on life that society, religion, philosophy, etc. have conditioned us all to have. That grip is on one hand useful and on the other hand detrimental. Via language, it allows us to make sense of the world and "progress" as individuals and society, but it also traps our experience inside its contrived mental boxes. I'm trying to let go of those controls and turn off my conditioned mind. By doing so I aim to capture some of the innocent fascination that most of us had as children. For myself, some of this occurs within the process of creating art. For the viewer I want my work to look alien, or foreign, or just beautiful, to remind them of a world they don't understand but are intrigued by. Many of my pieces have underlying stories that deal with god and self, but the stories are usually a sideshow. It is the mystery that is of key importance.
TED DEGENER HANOVER NEW HAMPSHIRE The photographer, Ted Degener, has been documenting folk art environments and thework of self taught artists for over thirty years. His works have appeared in Self Made Worlds, Raw Creation, Souls Grown Deep, and they appear regularly in “Raw Vision Magazine”.
FRED RINNE SAN FRANSISCO CALIFORNIA
Rinne is a San Francisco installation, performance and static artist since 1987. The venues include Artists Television Access, The Lab, Southern Exposure and the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. For the last three years Rinne has immersed himself in book arts, binding and hand illustrating his books. He is known to create collaborative books with artists Scott Williams, Marshall Weber and Dana Smith, of San Francisco, and many more.
NORBERT H. kOx New Franken Wisconsin Con-S cience
BARRISTERS GALLERY NEW ORLEANS
FOLK MAGIC AND CURIOUS OBJECTS OCTOBER 2009
IMAGE: SCOTT WILLIAMS
Published on Mar 3, 2010
The phrase “internal guidance systems” alludes to imagination or visionary consciousness as a primary source of artisticinspiration and moti...