Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Life of Visionary Collage, Ann Irwin

Ann Irwin, by all accounts, was a woman who chose to live, love, and create art, under the most challenging circumstances. She battled chronic lung disease and other health issues, but worked on her art constantly. Even towards the end of her battle, she managed, with a 54 foot long cord to her oxygen supply, to still work in her beloved garden, and create eloquent colleges and quilts in her basement studio. According to her husband, Roy, she utilized old books, fabric, and found objects. "Ann created a large body of art (over 400 pieces) rich in a deep personal mythology of whimsical images of birds, houses, trees, and flowers." She often incorporated the printed word in her works, "not to be read, rather for tonality". "She asked her paper, foil, and twigs to function as a silent prayer, to anchor the dreamy images, to keep them real and material." Ann's work was shown in both museum settings and regional shows. I present here, three wonderful examples of her work. The piece I call "Starry Night with Matzoh" is one of my favorites. I thank Roy Zipris, Ann's husband, for bringing her extraordinary work to my attention. I recently visited the Museum of Modern Art to see collages and constructions. Ann Irwin's work would have been a perfect fit. Click on the title of this blog and you will come to a flickr page of more images. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ann Harper, food for thought

Ann Harper continues to amaze me with her complex, and spectacularly painted artworks. She is a licensed clinician as well as a courtroom advocate for children, and still finds the time to create haunting and unforgettable canvases. This recent painting called "Harvest" is in response to a poem by Saint Helena, part of which is posted here.
"And I have tilled, indeed,
Much land, where men may say that I have planted
Unsparingly my corn—
For a world harvest-haunted
And for a world unborn."
Another of my Harper favorites is "Knitting Birds".  Strange, for sure, but beautiful non the less! Ann offers this one as a giclee print on eBay.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pedro Martin DeClet, homage to heros

The collage "Portrait de Genocide", a powerful statement by Pedro Martin DeClet, is typical of his works which often examine his personal struggles and those of society. He first started exploring art while incarcerated, and a liberal prison system encouraged his efforts and allowed him to leave the premisses to attend his first show, beyond prison walls. This monumental work honors fallen heros, Latino as well as American Indian. The red pictograph of the human spirit bleeds for them and their sacrifices. Much of Pedro's work is in diary form, and he excels at painting, collage, sculpture, as well as assemblages.
His prison years and his involvement with the Latin Kings are far behind him, only occasionally resurfacing as fodder for his art. Pedro is exquisitely aware of the art world, and the poetry and prose of the most renowned authors and wordsmiths; however, his work is not at all derivative. It is purely his own vision, his own pain. Although completely self-taught, his frequent use of both Latin and Spanish text within his work gives it a unique sophistication. His self-portraits reveal him as he is, sweet, moody, confrontational, scarred, and hopeful. Pedro has had several museum shows and his work is held in many private collections.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Art equals Jazz equals Art

Do you remember the "Cotton Club" from Miami, Florida? My parents and their friends often spoke of what great jazz could be heard there, and I even got to visit once, when I was a small child. But Dirk Dahl, of California, took it way more seriously. He has collected jazz memorabilia for most of his life and is addicted to the sound of the music from the 30's and 40's. He also is a self-taught sculptor, and has created larger than life and extremely powerful figures of some of the Jazz greats, in his personal tribute to this unique sound. His animated pieces are collected world wide, and the JEPG here is of his wind section. Just how cool is that! Google him and watch these figures actually take shape on his won't be sorry! Wish he were coming to a venue here soon!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Outsider Artist Huber at Galerie Horst Dietrich

Galerie Horst Dietrich is showing Alexandra Huber a group show in Berlin this month. She will have a one-person-show starting in the beginning of March in the artfair in Karlsruhe. Seven of her previous catalogues will be available illustrating the fine work of this gifted artist who came to the art scene in 1993. Her works always remind me of Dubuffet, and sometimes Jean-Michel Basquiat, and with their child-like appearance, they always have an adult sensibility.
She works in mixed media, in both large and small scale, and more of her work can be seen

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Collage artist, Jocelyn Prosser

Jocelyn Prosser, originally from Toronto, Ontario, lives and creates her brilliant work in Neath, South Wales. She is a self-taught painter, using watercolor as her medium and Paul Klee, Frida Kahlo and primitive Haitian images as influences. Jocelyn is an eclectic collector of all types of 1940's dolls, Shona carvings, and objects trouves salvaged from home sales and flea markets. Sometimes these treasures get a second life as this artist also creates striking assemblages and jewelry. In the Spring of 2008 her assemblages were first shown in recycled wooden boxes and drawers at the Washington Gallery in South Wales.
She has a presence on the Saatchi site filled with many excellent examples of her watercolors and is an artist worth noting. Her work has a musicality to it and a painterly esthetic. The work on the top is entitled "Silver Lined Cloud" and the collage on the bottom is called "Lighthouse".

Daniel Farber, self-taught photographer

His business was leather, but his love was photography. On his gravestone are the words "Nature is my God" and his camera is carved over the shoulder of his marker, as if resting there a moment. Daniel Farber's works are in the permanent collection of 123 museums world wide, and he had numerous one man shows. Although he was self-taught, his "Reflections" show received rave reviews at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, as did his "Early American Gravestones" show at the AMFA and at Yale. When the Boston Aquarium opened, his stunning slides of reflections in water were mounted in their entry and his unforgettable macro images of flowers grace the walls of the Decorative and Fine Art division of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He was published in American Heritage, Popular Photography, Modern Photography, and Country Beautiful magazines, as well as on many classical record album covers. He was a prodigious photographer whose work is still widely collected. More than 1,400 dye transfer color prints, 34,000 gelatin silver prints, and 14,000 negatives produced by him are in the collections of U.S. museums and institutions. He was also one hell of a gardener, and one of my favorite uncles! Vintage images and his book, "Reflections of a Trail Taken" are available through this gallery.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Modern Masters, Travis Tuck and Tony Holand

My dear friend Travis Tuck started making weathervanes when Stephen Spielgberg showed up in Martha's Vineyard in 1974 and needed metal work to be done for his movie "Jaws". A spectacular and completely free hand shark weathervane was produced by Travis and it was placed on the fishing shack in the film. It was so coveted that it was stolen and had to be reconstructed twice! Travis's vanes became internationally famous and the waiting list for a piece to be constructed edged up on two years. Travis was named a Modern Master (he was considered the finest weathervane maker in the world) and was featured in a TV documentary film. Eventually Tony Holand came to apprentice with Travis, and together they continued to create masterful pieces until Travis's death due to a cancer that he valiantly fought for years.
For my vane, I suggested an Indian archer, but with the decorations of a Jingle Dancer added to the usual elements. When Tony delivered it to me, after Travis's death, it was covered with extra touches of gold leaf.....a gift to me for the long wait. The vane was installed in a space that had been waiting for it and it can be seen in it's finished state by clicking on the title of this posting. Here are photos from the process of it's creation.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Welcome to my world........

I'm a private dealer in Outsider and Artbrut Art and have over 400 images and supporting text on-line. The actual gallery is in Woodbridge, CT and is open by appointment or by chance. The pieces I have chosen to represent are top examples from each of my artists, all of whom have been placed in private as well as museum collections. During the year I deal mainly with works on paper, canvas and board, but in June I hold the annual Sculpture in the Garden show which transforms the property into a dazzling display of recycled metal, stone, and wood, reformed into giant sunflowers, dancers, musicians, horses, robots, dragonflies and garden whimsies. The gallery has been awarded as a Forbes Magazine "Best of the Web", and "Incredible Art Site of the Week" for months running!
Welcome to my world!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Outsider Artist, Maurice Hansen, Jr.

Maurice Hansen was discovered by my friend and fellow dealer, Chris Butler. Recognizing a major talent, she immediately arranged for a one man show of his paintings at the prestigious Aetna Gallery in Hartford, CT. Hansen's canvases are loaded to the edges with all kinds of biblical symbolism, as well as reflections of the daily news. They are masterful works, held in many private collections as well as museums. 
Because of an unfortunate fire in Butler's home, where a large body of his work was stored, many of his paintings were severely damaged. This particular painting, called "The Death of Lazarus", was prompted by news that a homeless man, who accidentally got doused with water, froze to death on the streets of NY. Right around the corner people were going about their lives, enjoying a restaurant dinner. 
Hansen was a beloved man, who valiantly lived with schizophrenia, and a one eared cat he believed was the incarnation of Van Gogh. I still miss his quick whispers, his energy, his ever present three pair of glasses, and his enormous talent. Maurice died of cancer, untreated due to his fear of receiving shock treatments from the doctors down the street. This had been the misguided way his mental illness had been dealt with when he was a child. His remaining works rarely come to market. 
I'm reminded of a quote in the Wall Street Journal that stated "Buy art that annoys, that uplifts, that challenges you to learn more about it. Buy art that you have to defend to somebody. Buy art that makes you feel smart, not art that matches your furniture." I will never tire of defending the works of Maurice Hansen.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Luis Manuel Serrano, Romantic Mexican Assemblages

Luis Manuel Serrano's exotic collages and constructions come from his love of making 8 mm and 16 mm films. Each scene is set for a story complete with a script. According to Teresa del Conde, who is the Director of the Modern Art Museum in Mexico City, " He does this in a mode reminiscent of Joseph Cornell. This he achieves by making his collages tridimensional. His assemblages may represent stagings set during the first few decades of the 20th century. They describe a fondness for certain things. They are rather moving and deeply nostalgic. He saves seemingly unconnected objects from oblivion. In Luis Mauel's work there are crystalized tears, which are actually small vials, and even tears of blood; there are pins used to hold up feminine coiffures that hold a certain aggressiveness. A Boticelli Venus' hair becomes real while Don Gabriel Figuera's clouds become steel shavings."
The museum has a beautiful illustrated catalogue of Serrano's works , which are included in many public as well as private collections. I am including his "A Night in the Opera", but you can see many more works from private collections, as well as works for sale on his blog. Mexico has given us a great gift. This is a man worth watching. His website is: