I had my first experience this week with Outsider Art,"art brut" in French, translated "raw art" or "rough art". I am blown-away by this genre that I had previously known virtually nothing about. Having heard about the fair through a Times article by Robert Smith, I was interested and went to check it out. For those who like myself a few days before, do not know what this genre is, it is art that is created by individuals on the fringes of society, untrained in classical art, and separated from the traditional world of art. Originally, this term classified mostly people in insane-asylums, people who did not think as the rest of society. Now, the genre encompasses many more than those institutionalized for mental problems, it is any art that is made without the influence of the traditional. Outsider artists are also people like Winfred Rembert, who while in prison, learned to make art on leather; his work is so descriptive as well as rhythmic and has a very clear commentary.
I found this art so special because it recognizes the artistic heart and sometimes the unadulterated flow of the mind; describing how things are and what the world is like. In it, there often isn't such a strain to achieve perfection or demonstrate a certain learned skill and as a result, what is made often is very raw and very straightforward.
Some of the art is very fun, and will make you smile. Other pieces will make you think and stand in awe of the clarity that they achieve. The genre on a whole, gives me inspiration and encouragement in my own work as well as renews my faith in our ability to see the value that all individuals have, regardless of what society at whatever particular time chooses to value.
Below are a few of my favorites from the show.