OPENING FRIDAY, JUNE 15th - 7-9pm
Raw, outsider, primitive, naïve, fringe, uninhibited, intuitive, marginal, fantastical, untrained…
These are all words that have been used to classify and define visionary art, yet the term still continues to be just as enigmatic and varied as the art it encapsulates. Unlike all other art genres, visionary art, sometimes interchangeable with outsider art, can neither be defined simply as one movement set in time nor spelled out in convenient academic terms, rather it is truly only understood when experienced and witnessed first-hand. The Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum defines visionary art as, “Like love, you know it when you see it… Art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.” Yet, like other experts, we too place select trained artists under the visionary category.
Perhaps the most famous proponent of visionary art was the artist, Jean Dubuffet. He was mystified by untrained artists who responded to their own extreme individualism and realities, apart from the influences of contemporary culture and artistic trends. His fascination resulted in the famous Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland. The curator of Dubuffet’s collection, Michel Thevoz, added his definition of this raw or ‘uncooked’ art form to the discourse when he wrote,
They [outsider or visionary artists] are all kinds of dwellers on the fringes of society. Working outside the fine art “system” (schools, galleries, museums, and so on), these people have produced, from the depths of their own personalities and for themselves and no one else, works of outstanding originality in concept, subject, and techniques. They are works which owe nothing to tradition or fashion.
Yet, what is even more difficult to articulate and most essential to the definition of visionary or outsider art is the raw energy and primal electricity that these works seem to emit. Fantastically masterful visions emerge from the most unexpected materials - sand, junk metal, bark, mirror fragments, fur, broken plates, bottlecaps … etc.
Definitions aside, we invite you to come see and experience this fantastically unique art form for yourself – you’ll know it when you see it! Messages from Outsiderdom features the untamed work of nationally-recognized visionary artists, including Brian Dowdall, Bob Benson, Darien Reece, T.S. Young, J.J. Cromer, Lawrence Amos, Jesus Montes, Charlie Lucas, Jane Pettit, Lee Wheeler, Matt Sesow, and David Kane.
The opening reception is free and open to all. RSVPs are appreciated but not required.
Monday, June 25, 6:30-7:30pm
Join us for this special evening with two of the nation’s experts in visionary art – Rebecca Hoffberger, founder & director of the American Visionary Art Museum, & Mary Ellen ‘Dolly’ Vehlow, curator and owner of Gallery O on H. Together they will share their personal stories working with visionary artists, and reflect on the art form’s powerful healing ability to move both viewer and artist through personal loss and tragedy.
IMAGES: J.J. Cromer's The Piano Left to Seed & T.S. Young's Untitled
Messages from Outsiderdom will run from June 15 to August 18, 2012
Opening Reception - Friday, June 15, 7-9pm
Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery is located at 1632 U Street, in Northwest DC -- Learn more about the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery
Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Friday, 11am-5pm, Saturday, 11am-3pm, and by appointment.
The gallery will be closed on Wednesday, July 4th.
 American Visionary Art Museum. http://www.avam.org/stuff-everyone-asks/what-is-visionary-art.shtml>
 Raw Vision. “What is Outsider Art?” <http://www.rawvision.com/outsiderart/whatisoa.html>