by BETSY MOWRY
In a community immersed with gifted artists and inimitable art, the Twin Cities is fortunate to have the solely unique vision of Outsiders & Others, a gallery dedicated to new and self-taught artists.
Outsider art, a sector gaining popularity worldwide, is defined as visionary, folk and naïve work. Most outsider artists are not traditionally trained, and many are “undiscovered,” realizing the appeal and/or value of their work only with public appeal over time, or when discovered by a “connoisseur” of the industry.
Outsiders & Others is hosting a noteworthy invitational exhibit, Internal
Guidance Systems (IGS). The display brings together 29 distinctive, highly
regarded international artists representing a broad cross section of populations.
Co-curated by self-taught artist Anne Marie Grgich and professor and author
Colin Rhodes, from the University of London, the exhibit is not to be missed.
This “artist driven” presentation of painting, sculpture, mixed
media, illustration, collage and textile work features over 100 captivating
pieces by individuals from Philadelphia to Washington state, and England to
Self-taught visionary artist Robin Oliver creates small doll-like sculptures
inspired by vivid dreams and her lifelong love of illustrated books, dolls and
miniature creations. Her pieces “Dalla Doll” and “Paul Doll”
are rich and compelling. The material description for “Paul Doll”
(toy drum, acrylic, paint, bear, fur, ground squirrel feet) captures the fancy
and originality of the piece, and epitomizes the uniquely creative aspect of
the exhibit as a whole.
The lively, eclectic collage pieces by Milwaukee folk artist Della Wells resonate
with narrative and story. Integrating realism and fantasy, her works are fantastic
compositions of color and movement. Considering herself a “late bloomer”
as a 42-year-old artist, Wells says much of her work “revolves around
my experiences of self-actualization as an African American woman.”
Parisian painter Adam Nidzgorski presents work that seems simple and sincere.
His subjects are vaguely childlike and enigmatic. Bold outlines and geometrical
bodies define the small groupings of characters. Each face is depicted with
Nidzgorski’s signature eyes and mouths in a characteristic “O”
of surprise or innocence. Nidzgorski exhibited as a self-taught artist for more
than 40 years throughout Europe, demonstrating the vast array of ability and
experience of the artists in this exhibit.
Although all of the outsider art here displays incredible talent, work worth
noting includes the found-object sculptures by Even Cohen, Huston Ripley’s
involved and complex tissue paper drawings, Anne Grgich’s mixed media
“Ode to Frida,” and of course, the dynamic paintings by Minnesota’s
own Doug Padilla.
Located temporarily in a 4,000-square-foot Uptown storefront on Hennepin Avenue,
Internal Guidance Systems is on its third of five stops nationwide in
a three-year tour. In 2004, Colin Rhodes described IGS as “art that lives
at the heart of our lives and yet, curiously comes out of the margins. This
is compelling work that grows out of its creators like a plant grows out of
the ground . . . .It speaks!” ||
Internal Guidance Systems runs through Dec. 2. The Outsider’s
pilot gallery is located at 3045 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls. (next to The Lotus
restaurant), 612-338-3435, outsidersandothers.org