The Outsider Art Fair 2019 ~ it’s on! And we have four full days to take it all in. Here are a few images from our Day 1.
Starting with Portrait Society Gallery (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) below, we were utterly taken with the artists in this booth, from the large format wall hangings by Rosemary Ollison, to the artwork and dolls created by Della Wells, and ‘Black Eyed Peas’ dolls by Sharon Kerry Harlan and others.
The dolls, below ~ entitled ‘Black Eye’d Peas‘ were created by Wisconsin-based artist Sharon Kerry-Harlan. In her artist statement she speaks of the colorful pieces, “I use the human figure to make statements about the quick turnarounds that confront us both in life’s mundane and unexpected circumstances. I am particularly intrigued by the human face–what it reveals to the world and what it disguises from the world.”
The large wall hangings below, were created by self-taught, Milwaukee-based, 76 year old artist, Rosemary Ollison. Her work deals thematically with her identity as a black women and celebrates the power, individuality and mystique of other women.
Ollison began making art in 1984, while healing from an abusive marriage. Ollison says that she creates in dialog with God.
The self-taught Milwaukee-based artist Della Wells exhibited both paintings/collages and handprinted dolls (above and below). Her story, best told by the Gallery ~ “As a child, she invented stories and characters based on her mother’s recollections of growing up in North Carolina during the 1920s through the 1940s. Wells used these stories to escape the uncertain realities created by her mother’s mental illness and her father’s rage and eventually used them to inspire the collage art she creates today. Wells feels strongly that “being a master of your spiritual self does not come until you understand from where you came from.” She incorporates her own folklore in her work which often has subtle symbols from the civil rights struggle. Wells works in various media, from collage to painting and folk art dolls.”
The 1991 Les Paul Guitar (below) was painted by the artist Howard Finster and is on view at The Pardee Collection booth #39
Several of the artists in the show were at the press preview, and we felt fortunate to meet Richard Kurtz (below) who was exhibiting in the Esperanza Projects booth #18.
Weaving our way through rows and rows of galleries, we couldn’t help but stop short to take a breath, and a long moment in front of a beautiful display of ‘memory jars’ (below) by Hill Gallery (Birmingham, Michigan).
One of the most prominent of the OSA Curated Spaces is a tribute to the grande dame, Phyllis Kind, founding participant in the Outsider Art Fair when it was originally launched in 1993. This exhibition is curated by art critic and Raw Vision senior editor, Edward M. Gomez, in collaboration with OAF manager Allison Galgiani.
The self-taught photographer, Oraien Catledge, achieved great success and notoriety, despite a severe visual impairment, for his twenty-year photographic project, documenting the people of Cabbagetown (below).
Cabbagetown is a tightly knit community of Appalachian rooted people who came to Atlanta to work in the Fulton Cotton Mill, and were gradually displaced by the mills closing and the gentrification. The works of photographer Oraien E. Catledge can be found in the Mason Fine Art (Atlanta, Georgia) booth #15.
We couldn’t wait to see the work of Purvis Young ~ and we were delighted to see his work in a number of booths, beginning below, at Tanner Hill Gallery (Chattanooga, Tennessee) booth #17.
Purvis Young also on view at Main Street Gallery (Clayton, Georgia) booth #14 (below).
Hirschl & Adler Modern NY, booth #22, display a pair of Purvis Young paintings on each side of the entrance to their booth (below).
Below, Fountain House Gallery (booth #16) displayed a wall full of eclectic creations by the self-taught artist, singer, poet and performer, Angela Rogers. Her ‘puppets,’ intricately wrapped in yarn, reference addiction and institutionalization, influenced by a near-death experience after surgery for a brain trauma in 2012.
The OAF curated space below was a popular booth, with its exhibit, Good Kids: Underground Comics From China (#P4), exploring the emergence of the underground comic scene in China which coincided with the rise of the internet in the late 1990s to early 2000s.
The exhibit features zines and original drawings created by Chinese Artists “dealing with subject matter that is scatological, sexual, puerile and anti-conformist, making the distribution and sales of these work in mainland China complicated to almost impossible.”
Good Kids: Underground Comics from China is co-organized by the Noguchi Museum’s Brett Littman and Yi Zhou, a partner at Beijing’s C5Art Gallery.
Above and below, the work of artist Stephen Goddard, exhibited in the Sardac (London) booth #40.
Carl Hammer Gallery (Chicago, Illinois), booth #55, beautifully displayed watercolor works by Henry Darger.
Another popular booth, Political Drawings by Jim Carrey (below) in the Maccarone (Los Angeles) booth #23. Best expressed by the Gallery, “Carrey’s cartoon drawings are a conduit for his frustration and disappointment in the U.S. constituency, his response to the election of a controversial and ill-equipped media figure and the corrupt and dishonest manner in which the current administration is perceived to function.”
Many of Carrey’s works on view were created after the mid-term elections, and are being exhibited for the first time.
Kambel Smith (below) is a self-taught artist who was diagnosed with autism at age six. He began experimenting with model-making when his family couldn’t afford art supplies for painting, creating sculptures of landmark buildings in Philadelphia using cardboard salvaged from the trash.
Each piece takes up to five months to complete, and are lovingly stored in his family’s home in Germantown, Pennsylvania ~ taking up lots of room, as you can well imagine! Above, Smith standing my his model of the Philadelphia Art Museum, and below ~ a stunning model of Devine Laraine. We found his work in the Chris Byrne (Dallas, Texas) booth #49.
Above, the Devine Laraine, 2018, cardboard, foam-board, gouache, oil paint, charcoal, and lights. 36 x 20 x 20 in.
Above, Philadelphia Art Museum, 2015, cardboard, foam-board, gouache, oil paint, and charcoal. 44 x 28 x 42 in., 27 x 32 x 64 in., 26 x 24 x 52 in, 27 x 31 x 44 in. Below, a closer look at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
Who can resist a silent auction, especially when it’s for God’s Love We Deliver (below).
Below, the Chicago-based non-profit, Project Onward, supporting Chicago visual artists living with mental and developmental disabilities.
The Outsider Art Fair 2019 will be on view from January 17-20, 2019, with 67 exhibitors, at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, NYC.
Find a Rizzoli Bookstore popup in the lobby. Follow The Outsider Art Fair on Facebook