‘OUTSIDE THE LINES’ Featuring eight emerging, self-taught artists, Burden, Cox, DeRosa, DeSista, Easton, Stevens, Thibault, Vacation. OPENING EVENT: Saturday, February 8th from 4:00-8:00 pm. Snow Date: February 15. Exhibiting January 30 – February 28, 2020.
In February of 2020 Coastal Contemporary Gallery presents ‘Outside the Lines’. Celebrating eight talented creatives who are working and growing beyond the training and practices derived from the 'architecture' of conventional education. These self-taught artists find purpose, passion and balance within their art-making process. They are inspired by bits and pieces of life in motion that otherwise might be missed by our daily surface tasks - heads tilted downward, focused on the minutia. They possess the ability to pass rusted scraps of material lying dormant on dark basement steps, or glass eyes at a flea market, that strongly declare to become something much more. Memory-filled objects are arranged, saturated in light and re-shaped into abstract productions. Complex psychologies are pushed into simplification and everyday happenings, filled with the potential of ancient narratives are unpeeled and revealed. These artists express their visions without fear or constraint, and are extraordinarily empathic, sensitive beings. They are our childlike gifts in a muddled world of adulting.
There are blurred lines. Outsiders are now often, 'insiders'.
Art historian Roger Cardinal published his book and coined the term ‘Outsider Art’ in 1972. Outsider Art is originally the English equivalent to Dubuffet’s art brut definition. Art Brut and Raw Art ‘designates a category of works made by people ignoring any and all artistic and aesthetic references, or refusing quite simply to submit to standards.’ Naïve and Primitive are terms also reserved for this space. How can this really occur in a world filled with technology that is opening vast channels of connectivity and visibility?
This is not to say that ‘genuine’ Outsiders no longer exist, as per the original characterization. With a growing number of available outlets and platforms, for an ‘Outsider’ artist to be truly outside, is becoming a bit of a conundrum. A fair titled 'OUTSIDER' boasts itself as a global contributor to the commerce of creativity beyond the mainstream. Yet, inside each purchased booth within this fair, is a qualified gallery representing ‘Outsiders’. The artists are not wearing that classification anymore, or are they?
Visionary Art is yet another articulation that comes into play when this topic arises. Not all artists are visionaries. Not all Outsiders are either. Not all professional artists are trained in an educational setting. Nor must it mean, to be an Outsider, that there are physical, mental, social, emotional disabilities or challenges attached. The term has been so drastically broadened, shifted and edited.
Our eight ‘Outsider-The-Liners’ are actively working to expand their resumes. We met each of them in unique ways and appreciate the bravery it takes to put the artwork out; while accepting critical eyes with a broader wingspan.