RAW R EVIEWS
DRAWING FROM THE CITY by Tejubehan Orig. Tamil text Salaai Selvam, English text V Geetha & Gita Wolf Tara Books, India, 2013 ISBN: 9782759601868 Entirely handmade and silkscreen-printed, with a gorgeous and tactile cloth binding, this English translation of a autobiographical, magical-realism story recited by Tejubehan, realised by independent Indian publisher Tara, sketches a materially impoverished world where imagination is superrich. Her large pen-and-ink drawings swirl across the pages, with a small amount of text below. A beautiful analogue respite from this digital age, this book will delight children and adults alike. NE
GODS FOR FUTURE RELIGIONS Sculpture by Ho Baron Gallant Link, El Paso, Texas, 2012 ISBN: 9780985349707 With tongue firmly in cheek, and literally poking out in many of his sculptures, Chicago-born sculptor Ho Baron’s bronze and stone cast sculptures are his idols, icons, demons and spirits, with him the trickster creator. Spiritual and surreal, Baron’s works (his ‘waking dreams’) are paired with his text to describe a theory of the the universe, incorporating the Jungian ‘universal creative unconscious’. He explains this while describing his creative processes and the methods by which he makes the sculptures. The book is thoughtful and enjoyable, providing an overview of his work to date and an insight into his visionary perspective of spirituality and existence; gargoyles, Ginger and Giacometti lurk in the peripheries. NE
WOLF TRACKS Popular Art and Re-Africanization in Twentieth-Century Panama Peter Szok University Press of Mississippi, 2012 ISBN: 9781617032431 Self-taught Panamanian painters, who are both socially and economically marginalised, are the subject of this book, with Szok exploring the political and cultural context for a wider perspective. There are chapters on writers, music (rumba, salsa), sports and politics, followed by a chapter of artists’ biographies (the ‘Wolf Pack’). Over ten years of research and study are distilled in this book, which also describes the swagger of the painting tradition. The competitiveness and machismo of the artists are compared with boxing; ‘Few women venture into these areas’, and when they do it is in the form of, for example, a swatch of nail art templates outside a salon. If you’re interested in African- and Latin-American history and culture, buy the ticket and take the ride on the Red Devil buses of Panama. NE
DARGER: HIS GIRLS A Sequence of Poems About the Life of Henry Darger by Julie Chevalier Puncher & Wattmann Poetry, 2012 ISBN: 9781921450648 Inhabiting the character of Darger, Chevalier’s poems are moving and capture something of the essence of his aesthetic. The poems recall John Berryman’s 77 Dream Songs, with a para-confessional style and thirdperson Henry character, wide-eyed and forlorn in early twentieth-century America. Reworkings of traditional children’s rhymes are woven in with free-form verse and associative word play, as well as quotes from Darger and his files. In her introductory chapters, Chevalier handles Darger’s life with empathy, and her hunger for finding out all available information about him is clear. She brings her own perspective to the existing research creatively. Darger becomes a decrepit Holden Caulfield, forever trying to protect children’s innocence. NE
OUTSIDER ART SOURCEBOOK by John Maizels Shanghai University Press, 2012 ISBN: 9787877783382/J The tides are turning for outsider art: worldwide interest in the expression of self-taught artists’ inner worlds is on the rise. Many things, from the social and political to fashion and physics, tend to move in waves, from one extreme to another. Perhaps, after decades where conceptual art has dominated, people are interested in the other end of the spectrum. Perhaps they want to reach deeper inside themselves, past the ironic and beyond the post-modern to the authentic, and to connect with raw work that sings from the soul about the human condition. Internet access and the speed of technology is giving momentum to this sea-change in art. This Chinese edition of the Raw Vision Sourcebook provides a directory of outsider and visionary artists and environments; galleries, collections, museums and fairs; organisations and websites that probably need to be updated already... NE
International journal of outsider art, folk art, visionary art and Art Brut.