Heroic expressions Outsider Artists & their stOries Kristine somerville Untitled, Madge Gill, 1940, ink on card, courtesy of the Henry Boxer Gallery, London I don't copy what I see, I make it better. --William Hawkins Outsider artists typically lack formal training, reside outside the margins of canonical structures of reputation and fame, and may not even consider their creations art. From their enigmatic existences comes raw, urgent, and often irrational work. They do not share approaches, styles, or attitudes, and we might struggle to account for them using customary art world terms. They are marginal figures, their work coming from unexpected places: an asylum in Switzerland, a squalid one-room apartment in Chicago, notebooks carried in a backpack of an indigent college dropout, the channelings of a spiritualist English housewife, or the latelife creations of menial laborers from the South. Whatever mental illnesses or social obstacles they face, they turn their art into an exciting reason for living. Their work reveals passionately engaged, unusual lives and inner journeys into unfamiliar realms. Once their art is discovered, it is valued for its meaningful interweaving of life and work into marvelous acts of storytelling. In many ways, they are heroic figures
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Jan 5, 2016
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