Check out these articles on local and “outsider” art!
Getting to know Jean Dubuffet:
- French, born in 1901 and died in 1985
- Known for founding the Art Brut movement- a term used to describe art created outside of official culture.
- Dubuffet felt that a simple way of being, outside of the academic realm, created more pure, expressive art representative of the inner psyche
- He was a sculptor, musician, painter, and even did some collage. The bulk of his work was created in the last 40 years of his life.
Some things he has said:
“What seems interesting to me is to reproduce in the figurative representation of an object the whole complex system of impressions we receive in the normal course of everyday life, the way this affects our feelings and the shape it takes in our memory; and it is to this that I have always applied myself.”
“A work of art is only of interest, in my opinion, when it is an immediate and direct projection of what is happening in the depth of a person’s being.. ..It is my belief that only in this Art Brut can we find the natural and normal processes of artistic creation in their pure and elementary state.”
“Man’s need for art is absolutely primordial, as strong as, and perhaps stronger than, our need for bread. Without bread, we die of hunger, but without art we die of boredom.”
“Art should be born from the materials.”
Some art he has made:
It seems to me that Dubuffet was intent on revealing the truth, and not trying to create from anyplace else than from what he was truly feeling. He was especially interested in the art of children, mental patients, and prisoners. He mentioned in a writing that he “had given up [around 1950] any ambition of making a career as an artist.. .I had lost all interest in the art shown in galleries and museums, and I no longer aspired to fit in that world. I loved the paintings done by children, and my only desire was to do the same for my own pleasure.”
Dubuffet reminds us that art for art’s sake is okay! He reminds us that we can run with the medium and go where it wants to go rather than making something because our cultures says it “looks good”. I love that he sticks to making things the way HE wants them to look and is able to express himself so thoroughly in his painting and sculpture.
Happy Labor Day!
I’d like to feature the work of Tiff Manuell, an artist based out of South Australia. Her work caught my eye on Instagram a few months ago because of her process. She paints on her material either flat on a table or mounted on a wall, depending on the goal, and then forms the material into bags and accessories. She also collages with the painted material in such a lovely, organic, matisse-like way. The colors are bold and bright, the patterns unexpected, and the functional items just an absolutely delightful conclusion to the emotion that must go into these paintings. I responded so much to Manuell’s work because I could see this being such an amazing way to honor work by Maggie, Emma, Sian, or Stephen- those who don’t always have a specific vision but enjoy applying paint to canvas.
I love the idea of someone carrying around an original piece of work by one of the Innisfree artists, and while the printmaking we do is definitely expressive and fun there’s something so joyful about showcasing a hand-painted fiber in this way. I hope you enjoy Manuell’s work as much as I do. She says on her home page “I am inspired everyday by all sorts of things, i can never precisely tell what it is but i have a hard time planning or controlling it which is what I like about this project. I want it to be spontaneous and to move quickly, for it not to be restrained by typical industry formats but more organic in its evolution.”
Here’s to moving spontaneously and not restricting ourselves to what someone else thinks of as beautiful! I’ve been listening to the podcast “On Being” lately as suggested to me by a friend, and one of the episodes was an interview of Father Greg Boyle, Executive Director of Homeboy Industries which is a company that seeks to get LA gang members off the streets and into productive jobs. He says “Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe of what [the poor] have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.” While we’re not talking about the poor, I think it’s such a cool idea to talk about being in awe of what the Innisfree artists carry-or what they have to offer, which is their art-rather than judging how they carry themselves. I’m often in awe of what these guys create and have no trouble moving past how they carry themselves because of the relationship we’ve already built, but I hope that those who first encounter this population through their art can see the true heart and soul and honesty that goes into creating it.
This past Friday we went to the public reception at City Space gallery to see art by VSA (Very Special Arts) artists; JABA’s Adults Care Center, Alzheimer’s Association Arts Fusion program, Post High, ARC of the piedmont, Region Ten, and other individual artists from the area were all represented. From quilts to paintings, to masks, and photography there was something for everyone to enjoy and many people had fun picking out the pieces that they themselves might make!
Jean was inspired by the oils and watercolors, and expressed an interest in doing some portrait work. Katie was drawn to the expressive paintings and Elizabeth loved the animal masks and geometric drawings by an artist named Amanda. Christopher loved looking at all the animals that were drawn or painted and Jim enjoyed the A.C. ;).
The opportunity to see art by other adults like Innisfree coworkers is so important for our understanding of how art making fits into our local community. Often we get so into our work in the art studio that we forget other people do what we do, too, and we should take the time to appreciate their hard work in the arts! Elizabeth was eager to participate in the short presentation done by the director of Charlottesville’s VSA program and expressed that she too was an artist because she painted and was a weaver and would like to show her work in a space like the one we were visiting. It was very cool to see her interact with a great organization and express an interest in participating!
It’s for this reason that we don’t just make functional art in the studio like printmaking on fabric for bags, napkins, aprons, etc. because painting and drawing is an essential part of gaining inspiration and presenting our unique styles to art lovers in our area.
In the spirit of sharing work, here are a few things we have completed and a few things that are still in progress…
While doing some research for an event in the village that would combine the talents of the fitness and art programs I realized something. Painting while moving is in and of itself an actual art movement! I tried many google searches from “painting to music” to “body painting” (not what I thought it was!) and finally came upon “dance painting” which is also referred to as “Action painting”. Popularly used in corporate environments as a community building and relaxation technique, Action painting was first coined as a term in 1952 by Harold Rosenberg. “Art as an act rather than an object” is the general idea behind Action painting and I think it suits our artists at Innisfree very well! I think we tend towards things that feel good to us- the way a paintbrush reacts to the surface of the canvas and the way our hands feel when they’re shaping clay. The product of those movements becomes secondary and we’re able to simply move for the sake of moving and produce something beautiful as a byproduct.
Here are some examples of historical Action Painters:
As I’m sure you’ve noticed we’re BIG on abstraction. There are very few Innisfree artists who are interested in realistic art (besides Katie’s interest in photography) and many are more than happy to just apply color to paper and revel in simply the action itself. If we can expand this into a musical performance dance with paint- I think we could make something really cool! I imagine it going something like this…
Though it’s even possible to do more of a “round robin” thing where we have several large canvases (or sheets of canvas) and switch spots after each song…this video shows a great result of that technique!
And wheelchair painting is ALWAYS cool