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RV 77 WINTER 2012/13 DIGITAL EDITION
ART IN HOUSTON
RAWVISION77 WINTER 2012/13
CONTENTS THE POWER OF LOVE Lynne Adele explores the collage drawings of Bruce New.
WORLD’S BEST ART MAGAZINE
MEDAILLE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS
MARTIN RAMIREZ Edward Gomez reassesses the work of one of America’s most celebrated outsider artists.
UTNE INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD
AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM VISIONARY AWARD
Editor John Maizels
MOTHER’S MILK Alicia Eler discovers the strange kid leather gloves of Ellen Greene.
Directors Henry Boxer, Sam Farber, Robert Greenberg, Audrey Heckler, Rebecca Hoffberger, Phyllis Kind, Frank Maresca, Richard Rosenthal, Bob Roth Art Editor Maggie Jones Maizels Senior Editor Julia Elmore Features Editor Nuala Ernest Editorial Assistant Natasha Jaeger Managing Editor Carla Goldby Solomon Accounts Manager Judith Edwards Subscriptions Manager Suzy Daniels US Assistant Ari Huff French Editor Laurent Danchin Contributing Editors Michael Bonesteel, Jenifer P. Borum, Roger Cardinal, Ted Degener, Edward Madrid Gomez, Jo Farb Hernandez, Tom Patterson, Charles Russell
Roger Thompson talks to Stephanie Lucas about her work.
Advertising Manager Charlie Payne tel 859 305 6117 cell 859 537 6937 email@example.com
Tony Thorne discusses the utopian academic world of John Devlin.
Published by Raw Vision Ltd PO Box 44, Watford WD25 8LN, UK tel +44 (0)1923 853175 email firstname.lastname@example.org website www.rawvision.com US Office 163 Amsterdam Ave, #203, New York, NY 10023–5001 (standard envelopes only)
EVERYDAY INSPIRATION Julie Thompson reveals the creative expressions found in Houston, Texas.
Bureau Français 37 Rue de Gergovie, 75014 Paris tel +33 (0) 1 40 44 96 46
ISSN 0955-1182 cover image Bruce New, The Gathering Of The Moon Tribe, 2010.
Raw Vision (ISSN 0955-1182) December 2012 is published quarterly (March, June, September, December) by Raw Vision Ltd, PO Box 44, Watford WD25 8LN, UK and distributed in the USA by Mail Right Int., 1637 Stelton Road B4, Piscataway, NJ 08854. Periodical Postage Paid at Piscataway, NJ and additional mailing offices. Postmaster send address corrections to Raw Vision c/o Mail Right International Inc, 1637 Stelton Road B4, Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA subscription office: 163 Amsterdam Ave. #203, New York, NY 10028. (Standard envelopes only)
TRANSPORT EXOTICUS Cathy Ward examines the dream machines of Ian Ward.
RAWREVIEWS Exhibitions and books.
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GALLERY & MUSEUM GUIDE RAWNEWS Outsider events and exhibitions around the world.
R AW N E W S
Austria. Belgium. Britain.
HAITI AND VOUDOU
until April 21, 2013 The Dream of Flying features works on the theme by Josef Bachler, Laila Bachtiar, François Burland, Leonhard Fink, Gregory Blackstock and others. Also running from November 15, 2012 – March 10, 2013, over one hundred religious scroll paintings on linen and silk are showcased in yogini.! kunst aus tibet. GALERIE GUGGING, Am Campus 2, 3400 Maria Gugging, AUSTRIA tel: +43 (0)676 841181 200, www.gugging.org
November 30, 2012 – February 16, 2013 Alexis Lippstreu shows at MADmusée from December 1, 2012 – February 16, 2013, and also in Galerie Christian Berst from November 30, 2012 – January 2013. Lippstreu takes inspiration from paintings by Gauguin, Degas, Van Eyck and others. MADMUSÉE, Parc d'Avroy, 4000 Liège - BELGIUM tel: +32 (0)4 222 32 95, www.madmusee.be GALERIE CHRISTIAN BERST, 3-5, Passage des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris, FRANCE tel: +33 (0)1 53 33 01 70, www.christianberst.com
until January 6, 2013 Kafou: Haiti, Art and Voudou is a major exhibition of Haitian art inspired by Voudou, with 200 works by 40 artists, from the 1940s to today. One of the largest exhibitions of Haitian art ever in the UK, these pieces reflect the sheer richness of Haitian culture and history. NOTTINGHAM CONTEMPORARY Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB, UK tel: +44 (0)115 948 9750 www.nottinghamcontemporary.org
FLYING AT GUGGING
ART & MARGES
ART FROM THE MARGINS
until January 27, 2013 Lionel: L’enfant bleu d’Henry Bauchau offers a maze of monsters, enchanted islands and cosmic visions, exploring links between art, literature and therapy. Art & Marges is also exhibiting Robert Garcet, with artworks, audio documents and photos on display. The museum’s permanent collection includes a new display on the first floor. ART & MARGES MUSÉE, 312-314 rue Haute, 1000 Brussels, BELGIUM tel: +32 (0)2 533 94 90 www.artetmarges.be
until February 3, 2013 A season of exhibitions at Pallant House Gallery celebrating art from the margins, opens this autumn. Outside In: National showcases 80 new works selected from pieces submitted to the competition for artists producing work from the margins of society. Jean Dubuffet: Transitions is the first major review of Dubuffet’s work in a public museum in the UK for nearly 50 years, featuring paintings, drawings and sculpture. Roger Cardinal will be giving a talk on ‘The Marginal Arts’ on December 29 and Laurent Danchin will talk on Jean Dubuffet on December 6, both at 6.30 pm. PALLANT HOUSE GALLERY, 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1TJ, UK, tel: +44 (0)1243 774557, www.pallant.org.uk
DR GUISLAIN until May 26, 2013 Nervous Women depicts extreme mental states of women such as mania, melancholia, passionate love and rebellion, exploring how our times provoke and endure new forms of disturbed behaviour. Includes works by Eric De Volder, Diane Arbus, Yayoi Kusama, Tracey Emin and Shadi Ghadinan. MUSEUM DR GUISLAIN Jozef Guislainstraat 43 9000 Gent, BELGIUM tel: +32 (0)9 216 35 95 www.museumdrguislain.be
R AW N E W S
HILDEBRANDT AT GAIA
February 5 – May 4, 2013 Showcasing the richly elaborated sculptures of Danish shoemaker Kristian Hildebrandt (1924 – 2011). Also until January 19 2013, LYS PÅ KUNSTEN (‘Light on Art’) features highlights from the museum’s permanent collection. GAIA MUSEUM OUTSIDER ART Lene Bredahls Gade 10, 8900 Randers, DENMARK tel: +45 (0)8915 8338, www.gaiamuseum.dk
December 10 – 23, 2012 100 Cadeaux Extraordinaires (‘100 Extraordinary Gifts’) offers 100 examples of meaningful and rare works of many talents. BIZ’ART-BIZ’ART, Mezzanine de L’Oppidum 39300 Champagnole, FRANCE tel: +33 (0)3 84 51 63 36 www.bizart-bizart.com
until April 15, 2013 L’étrange peuple de Freak Wave (‘The Strange People of Freak Wave’) includes works by Chloé Mathiez, Paul Torres and Anne van der Linden. MUSÉE DE L’ÉROTISME 72 Boulevard de Clichy, Paris 18 °, FRANCE tel: +33 (0)1 42 58 28 73 www.freakwave.fr
anne van der linden
ARIEL IN LYON
September 29, 2012 A special commemoration evening was held at the Halle Saint Pierre museum in Paris, where dedications were given by Laurent Danchin and Martine Lusardy. The event was held in conjunction with a memorial exhibition devoted to Mr Imagination which presented a range of his work from French collections, including one of his magnificent thrones which he had presented to Halle Saint Pierre a few years ago. Mr Imagination was a well-known and popular figure in Paris where he made extended visits over the years and ran workshops for young people. He has also been represented in several important exhibitions held at the museum since he first took part in Art Outsider - des collections de Chicago in 1998.
December 1 – 29, 2012 Ariel, son of Evaristo, depicts visions inspired by myths and legends, often focusing on the fears of exploring the world between heaven and hell. GALERIE DETTINGER-MAYER 4 Place Gailleton 69002 Lyon, FRANCE tel: +33 (0)4 72 41 07 80 www.galerie-dettinger-mayer.com
MR IMAGINATION COMMEMORATION
R AW N E W S
FARBER DONATION OF VERBENA TO COLLECTION DE L’ART BRUT
Pascal Verbena’s monumental assemblage sculpture, Holocaust, has been donated to the Collection de l'Art Brut by Sam and Betsey Farber. Created mainly from salvaged driftwood, the piece is over five metres long and comprises a multitude of drawers and secret compartments, containing graveyard soil and photographs of people considered to have disappeared. The Museum now features a newly designed exhibition layout for its permanent collection, which includes several other pieces from its Verbena collection. Also until April 14, 2013, an exhibition at the Collection will be displaying drawings, carved dolls and photographic prints by Morton Bartlett. COLLECTION DE L'ART BRUT, 11, av. des Bergières, CH - 1004 Lausanne, SWITZERLAND, tel: +41 (0)21 315 25 70, www.artbrut.ch
until December 1, 2012 Haitian Art: Old Masters and New Visions features a selection of artwork from Haiti, from the 1940s to the present. The exhibition includes paintings, voudou flags and sculptures by artists including Montas Antoine, Alberoi Bazile, Gabriel Bien-Aimé, Onel Bazelais, Mireille Delice and Serge Jolimeau. INDIGO ARTS GALLERY The Crane Arts Building, 1400 North American St., #104, Philadelphia, PA 19122 tel: 215 765 1041 www.indigoarts.com
until December 17, 2012 The Four Sisters Gallery has a retrospective exhibition of the late Kenneth Rooks’ paintings and polychromed sheetrock carvings, showing the artist’s development over a 30 year period. Accompanying Kenneth Rooks is a display of carved and painted decoys by prize-winning decoy carver Carleton R. Lewis. FOUR SISTERS GALLERY 3400 North Wesleyan Boulevard, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 tel: 252 985 5268
December 1 – 30, 2012 The Florida debut Eric Legge includes the Georgia artist’s trademark images of angelic faces, florals, and pastoral images of his mountain home. From January 25 – February 10, 2013, Enchanted features an installation of tar paper paintings by Tres Taylor and his daughter Lillis Taylor’s fabric interpretations of his artwork. JEANINE TAYLOR FOLK ART, 211 E. 1st St, Historic Downtown Sanford tel: 407 323 2774 www.jtfolkart.com
THE TRANSCENDENT POWER OF LOVE Lynne Adele explores the collage drawings of Bruce New
above Share Your Secrets With a Bird, 2012, pen and collage on paper, 19.5 x 25 ins., 49.5 x 63.5 cm, courtesy of the artist. opposite Bruce New in Richmond, Kentucky, 2011, photo: Ted Degener.
here’s something paradoxical about Bruce New’s eloquent mixed media pieces. Employing his own consistent and complex visual language, New conveys symbolic messages that are at once universal and extremely personal. The works share an affinity with the ancient and primordial, yet are decidedly modern. They invite deeper examination, but remain somewhat impenetrable, rewarding the viewer with more questions than answers. They’re inspired by romantic love, yet are hard-edged and mechanical. Solid, monumental figures and objects populate compositions created in the fragile and ephemeral medium of collaged paper. The visual tension in the work is based on the precariously balanced polarity of these opposites, while a restrained, often monochromatic, palette provides unity. New is a self-taught visionary artist for whom the act of art-making is first and foremost to satisfy a personal need to leave a visual mark of his experiences, and to reveal things that he alone sees. He is led by an impulse to create art as an external manifestation of his
innermost visions, or as he describes it, a need ‘to document his existence.’ For New, art is inseparable from life. He explains, ‘I have a compulsive need to make these things, to do this. It ends up going on so long that it just becomes part of your life.’ Born on the fringes of Appalachia, in Somerset, Kentucky, on 1 January, 1970, New was the only child of a Vietnam veteran who worked for a local manufacturing plant and a beautician who took on extra clients at home. He grew up with ‘hair frostings, Virginia Slims 120s, Cosmopolitan magazines, and the smell of perm wave throughout the house.’ Country radio stations provided the soundtrack, with Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn served up in heavy rotation. New describes his childhood as ‘a typical middle class upbringing, with the adults working hard to provide everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted.’ Though he engaged in typical childhood activities including Little League baseball and ‘raising hell’ with his friends and cousins, New also collected
REVISITING RAMÍREZ Now that the legendary Mexican outsider’s ‘last works’ have surfaced, and better-informed research about his life has been published, new ways of appreciating his achievements are emerging, too. Edward M. Gómez reports.
Who was Martín Ramírez? What does his work mean?
‘WE MAY NEVER HAVE ANY RELIABLE EVIDENCE INDICATING EXACTLY WHY RAMÍREZ CREATED HIS PICTURES.’
Except for Untitled (Alamentosa) on p.26, all works reproduced here are courtesy Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York. All works are copyright the Estate of Martín Ramírez. opposite Untitled (Aztec), c.1960-1963, gouache and graphite on pieced-together paper, 24.5 x 15 ins., 62.2 x 38.1 cm.
Those are the questions that have long intrigued admirers of the skillfully composed, mixed-media works on paper of the Mexican-born self-taught artist, who has earned a secure place in the outsider art field’s canon of most-remarkable talents. Except, of course, when those are not the main questions a researcher might ask, as when those who take a postmodernist critical approach to their subject matter, downplaying concerns about a body of art’s authorship, focus instead on the conditions – social, cultural, political, economic, historical – in which a particular form of artistic expression develops or from which it has emerged. By contrast, a so-called formalist approach to understanding and appreciating a work of art assumes that it can effectively convey to a viewer whatever it has to say without the intervention of any kind of analytical or interpretative frameworks or theories, or maybe even without any explanatory, biographical information about its maker. For a strict formalist, form is content, and therein resides a work’s meaning. Likewise, any work can, does and maybe even must speak for itself. However, notes Víctor M. Espinosa, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Ohio State University (Columbus): ‘From the sociologist’s point of view, the work of art can never speak for itself. The sociologist believes the work of art also has meanings that are constructed socially.’ Espinosa notes that it is art critics and other observers of works of art who derive meanings from or imbue them with meanings. He adds: ‘That’s why Ramírez’s work was thrown in the trash in the 1950s – (precisely) because it couldn’t speak for itself. Someone had to speak up on its behalf, pointing out its significance in certain contexts, such as in an art-historical context.’ At Dewitt State Hospital in northern California, the psychiatric hospital in which Ramírez spent the latter part of his life, the intervener who recognized the diagnosed schizophrenic’s creations as works of art was Tarmo Pasto, a professor of art and psychology from a nearby college. He visited Ramírez regularly after first meeting him at Dewitt in 1950, gave him art supplies and showed his drawings in public exhibitions. Espinosa is the co-author or author of essays that have presented his and Kristin E. Espinosa’s findings from the pioneering research they have conducted about Ramírez’s life in Mexico and California. They have spoken with surviving relatives of Ramírez and with former Dewitt employees who had known of him or had interacted with him there. The Espinosas tracked down documents, such as the artist’s Dewitt medical records. They co-authored the main essay in the catalogue of the Ramírez retrospective that was presented at the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM), in New York, in 2007. During its run, the artist’s so-called last works were discovered in the home of relatives of Dewitt’s last director, a physician who had kept more than 140 drawings
Ramírez had made during the final years of his life. In 2008, AFAM showed some of those drawings, prompting a re-examination of much of what had hitherto been understood about the scope of Ramírez’s artistic production. That reconsideration of his oeuvre continues today as the ‘last works’ are being brought to market not all at once, but rather in batches by Ricco/Maresca, the New York gallery that commercially represents the Estate of Martín Ramírez. Víctor M. Espinosa, who is Mexican, also wrote an essay for the catalogue of the 2010 Ramírez exhibition that was presented at the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. There, he wrote: ‘The fact that we do not have any testimony about (Ramírez’s) intentions as an artist has generated a great deal of speculation about the possible significance of the central themes of his work. The 450 (Ramírez) drawings that it has been possible to locate to date are, therefore, our primary available source from which to explore [his] vision and chart the worldview they embody.’ We may never have any reliable evidence indicating exactly why Ramírez created his extraordinary pictures. Did he even have an audience in mind? In any case, the Espinosas’ research has helped debunk earlier misunderstandings about it. For example, when Ramírez’s work first began to attract the art world’s attention, some observers hypothesized that his bio-cultural roots lay with those of some of modern Mexico’s indigenous peoples. In fact, though, as Víctor M. Espinosa has pointed out, Ramírez came from the Los Altos de Jalisco region of the state of Jalisco in west-central Mexico, where criollos (descendants of Spanish settlers, with enduring, strong ties to Spain’s culture), not mixed, Spanish-and-indigenous mestizos, were dominant. In 1981, a text about Ramírez by Roger Cardinal was published in a British art-therapists’ journal. It stated that the artist had ‘lacked the capacity for oral speech’ and proposed that, through his art, he ‘tries to speak to us about his experience of psychosis, of acutely reduced contact with normal experience,’ adding that ‘(h)e communicates to us a sense of desperate fragility and uncertainty.’ Based on the incomplete information or misinformation that was available at the time, one might have assumed that Ramírez could not speak. However, later research showed that perhaps he had chosen not to speak. Overall, such observations helped establish a perception of Ramírez and his work that has long endured. Similarly, the American art critic Roberta Smith’s 1985 Ramírez exhibition-catalogue essay (Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia), unwittingly got it wrong when it stated that he had ‘stopped speaking in 1915.’ Smith wrote, again helping to establish a lasting view of Ramírez: ‘The more you look at [his] work, the more it seems in some profound way to make perfect sense….Did he make it up in a kind of visionary spontaneous combustion that the naïve, insane or devout are sometimes capable of? Or
INVISIBLE MOTHER’S MILK Ellen Greene’s kid gloves belie designs and messages that hit with an iron fist, as Alicia Eler discovers
right Little Omi(e) Wise, 2011, acrylic on vintage gloves, each 6 x 17 ins., 15.4 x 43 cm., photo: Bill Burlingham. opposite, clockwise from top left Witch Milk, 2012, acrylic on vintage gloves, each 5 x 21 ins., 12.7 x 53.3 cm., photo: Bill Burlingham.
Hell Bent, 2011, acrylic on vintage gloves, each 6 x 17 ins., 15.4 x 43 cm., photo: Bill Burlingham. Gloves Blame Her (for Cori Winrock), 2012, poem by Cori Winrock, acrylic on vintage gloves, each 5 x 19 ins., 12.7 x 47 cm., photo: Bill Burlingham.
llen Greene’s oeuvre is a cacophony of symbols. It is birthed from the artist’s visions, old school tattoo flash turned feminine power symbols, countless pairs of women’s hand gloves and ‘Invisible Mother’ Victorian photographs. Greene’s work defies
categories and time periods; she does not fit into outsider art, fine art or high fashion, yet could slip by in each one. Greene is a rebel girl at heart and a steadfast mother of two young girls. In this new body of work, her two identities collide and converge into
one — she is a heavily tattooed, redheaded female artist conjuring up mythic powers through classic tattoo imagery, yet lives in a modern-day consumer culture in which youth and beauty trump integrity and devotion to the family. Greene seeks to carve out a
new vocabulary for the woman who is both and neither, who is of this world while simultaneously envisioning and seeking another one. In her solo exhibition ‘Invisible Mother’s Milk’, at Packer-Schopf Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, Greene
THE IMPOSSIBLE ORGANISMS OF A FANTASTICAL WORLD
Roger Thompson talks to Stephanie Lucas about her man-made natural realms
tephanie Lucas never intended to paint. She started because she had to, as though something inside her insisted that she change not only what she was doing but who she was. She had been working as a clothes retailer, selling haute couture to tourists in Monaco, and one day her work ended abruptly in a nervous breakdown, a collapse of all that she knew about herself
and her life up to that point. She entered a time of depression, and only when she began to paint did her spirit return. She calls her work ‘automatic drawing’, a term coined by the Surrealists and detailed probably most extensively in André Breton’s 1933 article, ‘The automatic message’ (‘Le message automatique’, Minotaure, No. 3–4). That essay draws a distinction
HEAVENLY CITY – JOHN DEVLIN’S UTOPIAN VISIONS Tony Thorne goes from Canada to Cambridge and back, via the alchemy of John Devlin
above Untitled, 1980-88, ink and crayon on paper, 8.5 x 11 ins., 22 x 28 cm., courtesy Henry Boxer Gallery, London.
John Devlin’s work will be shown in Farfetched, Mad Science, Fringe Architecture and Visionary Engineering at the Gregg Museum, North Carolina, January 17 – April 26, 2013.
fter receiving a sheaf of artworks in August 2011, Richard Rodriguez, the American journalist, author and essayist, sent a message to the artist: ‘Your gift – the magnificent Nova Cantabrigiensis – arrived today … This is a “naïve” art that only the holy can aspire to … I am envious. I am in awe. The angels would draw this way, if they could.’ For the sender, the visionary artist John Devlin, Nova Cantabrigiensis – ‘New Cambridge’, the imaginary city depicted in the artwork – has become an enchanted alternative to Nova Scotia (originally ‘New Scotland’), the real province of Canada in which he lives today. Intending to join the priesthood, in 1979 Devlin left his native Canada at the age of 25 to travel to England, where he began to study theology at St
Edmund’s College of the University of Cambridge. It was there, after less than a year, that he simultaneously underwent an epiphany and suffered a breakdown, the first of many psychotic episodes that forced him back to Canada for hospital treatment followed by a long drawn-out convalescence. During the decades that followed, working on the back of found documents, on notepaper and pages from exercise books, John laboured to produce hundreds of images inspired by the architecture of the medieval city in which he had briefly been content. His New Cambridge is a cityscape, a utopia, recreated, he imagines, on an artificial island in the muddy tides of the Minas Basin on the North Atlantic coast of Canada. Though it resembles the real English city of colleges with its juxtaposed classical and gothic building styles, its ornamental gardens and carefully delineated
‘I WAS ON A FAUSTIAN QUEST, FOR ARCANE KNOWLEDGE TO EXPLAIN THE MAGICAL AMBIENCE OF CAMBRIDGE.’
pathways, the artist has added embellishments of his own invention: rotating fountains, islets, pyramids, flags, even lasers. Here and there a pair or a trio of tiny figures, Devlin himself and his friends, walking with a dog between the colonnades and across the parks. Above the little figures’ heads are haloes. These are delicate, finely wrought drawings, heightened with touches of vivid colour, at first sight perhaps reminiscent of the notebook of a seventeenth-century architect, or the sketches of an eighteenth-century aesthete on the Grand Tour. But, considered more carefully, the works betray a different sensibility; they have a surreal quality, too. In reproduction it is easy to miss the depth of detail, the annotations with words, dates, formulae, diagrams and symbols, but there is a further dimension to the drawings that can be fully grasped only by the artist
himself. ‘The drawings, for anyone who has seen them close-up, consist of layers and layers of various pieces of paper, all glued together with white glue. They are more than just the frontal image one sees … each drawing is physically quite thick, due to the slips of paper interleaved and glued within, and on the back.’ On the obverse numbers often appear; sometimes these are dates, but sometimes they are numerical sequences that have been developed by the artist according to mystical principles. ‘My theory’, he says, ‘is that for ideal design, there is an Ideal Ratio. I have been hunting for such a constant. I was on a Faustian quest, for arcane knowledge that would explain the magical ambience of Cambridge. I thought that if I could capture that ambience as a mathematical formula, then, I wouldn’t have to go to England. I thought I could think my way out of mental illness
above Untitled, 1980-88, ink and crayon on paper, 8.5 x 11 ins., 22 x 28 cm., courtesy abcd Collection, Paris.
INSPIRED BY THE EVERYDAY Julie Thomson describes how beer, oranges, flowers and cars led to monumental creations in Houston
above Isaac Long, Word of God House; the front yard of 3809 Linder Street, Houston, photo: Larry Harris.
aving a beer after work, drinking orange juice, driving cars, and growing flowers are all part of daily life, but in Houston, Texas these things have been elevated to monumental status due to artists. Unique visions inspired by these ordinary things led to the stunning Beer Can House, The Orange Show, the
annual Art Car Parade and the Flower Man’s House. Creative responses to the everyday also continue to inspire the recent Smither Park, designed by Dan Phillips, and Isaac Long’s ‘Word of God House’. John Milkovisch, creator of the Beer Can House, enjoyed having a beer after work and saved the cans in
above Cleveland ‘The Flower Man’ Turner, the new Flower Man’s House at 2305 Francis Street, Houston, photo: Larry Harris. below John and Mary Milkovisch outside the Beer Can House, 222 Malone Street, Houston, 1987, courtesy of the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, Houston. opposite above Jeff McKissack, The Orange Show, Munger Street, Houston, photo: Larry Harris.
hopes of finding a use for them. In 1968 Milkovisch made his first grand creative gesture. As a way to eliminate the need to mow the lawn, he covered his yard with concrete, a solution still intact at 222 Malone Street today. While it sounds like this could be dreary, Milkovisch made it colourful by adding rocks and marbles that sparkle when
illuminated by the sun. Soon after Milkovisch began creating long strands out of the tops and bottoms of the cans that he hung from the eaves all around his house. With their dramatic visual impact and subtle sounds they distinguished the bungalow from neighbouring West End houses.
TRANSPORT TO THE LANDSCAPE EXOTICUS Cathy Ward navigates the dream machines of her cousin, Ian Ward
above Carriage Chandelier, 1963, ink and gouache on paper, 30 x 22 ins., 76 x 56 cm.
Cathy Ward is a London based artist who exhibits internationally. She co-curated Chainletter: Swarm of Conciousness. Her writing has appeared in Critical Cities vol.1; Artistic Bedfellows and Artesian Magazine. Liberty Realm, a monograph of her drawings, is published by Strange Attractor Press. www.libertyrealm.com
‘The life we inhabit is pedestrian. Mentally we live another life or exist in another planet.’
an Leslie Ward was born in 1942, a time of war and upheaval. Britain was locked down for decades after with the restrictions of rationing. His love affair with motors started when his father Leslie gave him an Ian Allan book on British cars. Later, his interest grew with the iconic American designs in the 1950s. These screamed indulgent luxury, of the wanton aspirations of Hollywood glamour and of a sheer gorgeousness at odds with a monochrome suburban Britain. The series of 30 car drawings was created from 1958 to 1964 whilst working in accounts for the Borough Treasurer at Watford Town Hall. They show a desire for a life less ordinary, an escape from a stifling job locked behind files and copy machines, and freedom from living at home with his parents. Life for many after the war was all about hiding beneath the parapet, to exist in safety and security, and not to shine or be bedazzled by
behaviour against the norm. After work, the dining table was employed, and with paper and pencil he began drawing the objects of his desire. They had such titles as: The Nashville Custom Joe ; My Packard Country Clipper ; A Jew Baby Lincoln ; Dodge Royal 2 Door Station Wagon ; Rolls Cadillac Series 75: Fleetwood Imperial Sedan ; 1957 Lincoln Premier Landau 4 Door Hard Top ; and To Greta Garbo With Love Zion Dean . Later moving to more elaborate renditions, the cars are decked with curlicues, baubles, bells and horns resembling Eastern influences, a reminder perhaps of a day trip to the Brighton Pavilion, or a moment eating a Turkish Delight. As time progressed; a new stimulus was introduced via the technology of television. An influencing factor may have been The Liberace Show, broadcast Sunday afternoons by Lew Grade’s Associated Television (ATV) and avidly watched with his favourite aunt. The performer projected a
flamboyance and glamour unseen before, and for many gay men at that time in Britain, Liberace became an icon and standard bearer. With this new introduction, his perception of the works as cars changed and all conventional vestiges began to disappear. The vehicles became platforms for architectural structures, like operatic sets or carnival floats. Massive ionic columns appeared to function as elevators whisking one skyward to sit in heady heights on jutting platforms with diving boards, tables shaded with umbrellas, and cocktail bars for a pre-dinner martini overlooking pools. The wheels become smaller, disappearing beneath the chassis, some resembling sailing vessels, but all had antiquated hand cranks. Many have pots of flowers, one with growing trees and plants, looks a travelling garden bringing nature to the city dweller, something architects aspire to today. He was creating with all of his images, what he termed ‘Landscape Exoticus’. Chandeliers, possibly a nod to the signature
of Liberace’s candelabrum, start to play a significant and symbolic role, which he later takes to massive star ship proportions in the four awe inspiring final pieces. The four created from 1961 to 1964 are anything but cars. These are starships, dream mobiles, magnificent jewel-like crafts. They are meticulously drawn with ink and mapping pen, an instrument notorious to hiss and spatter in delicate moments, but here always employed with unswerving control. Unconsciously Ian Ward’s desire to draw these vehicles also signalled that they were the very means to transport him out of his suburban life and beam him down to the new planet of 60s London. It really was as if he had to make them larger in order for his transporter plans to work. Fantasy had taken hold of Ward’s life, but real engagement with living had to become reality. At the age of 21 after visiting a used car dealer, he purchased his very own jet black Cadillac 1955 Fleetwood: Series 60 Special Sedan, recently used by Peter Finch in the film In the Cool of the Day . The
All images above are 11 x 7.9 ins., 28 x 20 cm. above left Wind Brake, 1959, watercolour on paper. above right Custom Cabriolet, 1960, pen and ink on paper. middle left Indian Charabanc, 1960, ink on paper. middle right Party Convertible, 1962, pen and ink on paper. below left Mon Oncle Tourer, 1959, pen and ink on paper. below left Sports Coupe, 1959, pen and ink on paper.
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La Cathedral, Hauser, Norbert Kox, Zemankova, Anita Roddick, Laffoley.
Gugging, Art & Psychiatry, Traylor, M-J Gil, De Stadshof, Margaret’s Grocery.
Salvation Mountain, Yoakum, Dos Santos, Scottish Outsiders, Bartlett.
Ossorio, Irish Naïves, Nick Blinko, Ray Materson, Le Carré Galimard.
Adolf Wölfli, Art Cars Zeldis, Albert Louden, Cellblock Visions.
Sudduth Burgess Dulaney, St EOM, Mouly, Dulaney, Mr Eccles, SPACES.
Rio Museum, Voodoo,Carvers of Poland, Naïves of Taiwan, E. James.
Ben Wilson, Inner Architecture, Fasanella, Phase 2, Fryar, Gordon’s Patio.
Y5/P5, Chomo, Arning, Leonov, Kaiser, The Tarot Garden, Gene Merritt.
Mary Proctor, Carlo Zinelli, Dernier Cri, Art Brut, Jersey Shell Garden.
Picassiette, Benefiel, Vodou, Dellscahu, Mediumistic, Van Genk.
Mary T Smith, de Villiers, Matt Lamb, Old Curiosity Shop, Mithila Painters.
Robert Tatin, N-M Rowe, McQuirk, Denise Allen, Freddie Brice.
William Thomas Thompson, Alfred Wallis, Johnny Meah, Michael Rapanakis.
Dr. Leo Navratil, Ilija Bosilj, Simon Sparrow, Melvin Way, Pradeep Kumar.
Roger Cardinal Bentivegna, La Tiniaia,Grgich, Collis, Ray Morris.
Alex Grey, Lacemaker, Luna Rossa, Sekulic, Uddin, Mary Nohl.
Art & Madness, Lee Godie, Palace Depression, Saban, Benavides.
Nek Chand, Finster, Valton Tyler, LaraGomez, P.Humphrey, War Rugs, Lonné.
Van Genk, Purvis Young, Marcel Storr, RA Miller, Madge Gill, Makiki
Watts Towers, Bessy Harvey, Marginalia, F. Monchâtre, Tree Circus.
Palais Idéal, J. Scott, Charles Russell Donald Pass, Outsider portraits.
William Hawkins, Expressionism and Insanity, Giovanni Battista Podesta
57 Burning Man, Matsumoto, Nicholas Herrera, William Fields
67 Renaldo Kuhler, Sonabai, Outsider Films, Giov Bosco, Finster/Ginsberg
Finnish Outsiders, Sylvain Fusco, Roy Ferdinand
58 Lobonov, Zindato, JB Murray, Anthony Jadunath, Seymour Rosen
68 Paul Amar, Phyllis Kind, D M Diaz, W Dawson, Joe Minter, Survivors, Martindale
Scottie Wilson, Gavin Bennett, Bispo Do Rosario, Art Behind Bars
59 Emery Blagdon, ZB Armstrong, Bali, Imppu (Finland), Mari Newman
69 Colin McKenzie, Eugene Andolsek, Surrealism/Madness, INSITA, Churchill D
Hung Tung, Photography, Bernard Schatz, Jessie Montes
60 Tom Duncan, Movie Posters, Spanish Sites, Rosa Zharkikh
39 Darger, R/stone Cowboy, Thévoz: Chiaroscuro, Pearl Blauvelt, Bressse
49 Mammi Wata, Fred Ressler, Mary Whitfield, Isaiah Zagar
61 Sam Doyle, Myrtice West, Lost In Time, Romanenkov
Electric Pencil, Gugging, JJ Cromer River Plate Voodoo
Mario Mesa, Tim Lewis, Joel Lorand, Chelo Amezcua, Clayton Bailey
40 Eli Jah, Singleton, Marie-Rose Lortet, Ross Brodar, Catalan site.
50 Hamtramck Disney, Roger Cardinal, Ken Grimes, Criminal Tattoos
62 S.L. Jones, Kevin Duffy, Frank Jones, Charles Steffen
72 Masao Obata, Takeshi Shuji, Henriette Zéphir, John Toney, Edward Adamson
41 G. Aiken, Junkerhaus, Kurt Haas, P Lancaster, Minnie Evans.
51 August Natterer, New Gugging, George Widener, Paul Hefti
63 Howard Finster, Michel Nedjar, James H Jennings, Rosemarie Koczy
73 Dalton Ghetti, Art & Disability, Danielle Jacqui, Andrei Palmer, Mingering Mike
42 Boix-Vives, Fred Smith, Rosa Zharkikh, Donald Mitchell
52 Ivan Rabuzin, Czech Art Brut, Sunnyslope, Prophet Blackmon
64 Joe Coleman, Harald Stoffers, Elis F. Stenman
74 Henry Darger, Peter Kapeller, Nadia Thornton Dial, Belykh
Thornton Dial, Richard Greaves, Martha Grunenwaldt
Theo, Jane-in- Jane Sobel, Lanning Garden
Toraja Death Figures, Chauvin Sculptures Josef Wittlich, Nigerian Sculpture
Maura Holden, Clarence Schmidt R.A. Miller, Hans Krüsi, Silvio Barile
Speller, Norbert Kox, Haiti street art BF Perkins Damian Michaels
Philly/K8, Sefolosha, Palmer, Belardinelli, Ludwiczac, Oscar’s sketchbook
75 August Walla, Adolf Wölfli, Antoni Gaudi, Tim Wehrle, Frank Walter, Art & Therapy
76 CJ Pyle, Aloïse Corbaz, Mr Imagination, John Danczyszak