Do Objects Have Power?

I’ve recently completed seven shaman pictures. These are paintings of shamans from my mind. Shamans have a strong connection to art. Outsider art, at least. My kind of art. The kind that tries to get beyond.Shamans interface with the spirit world. You don’t necessarily need a shaman to get down with spirits, but the conventional wisdom is you’re better off with one. Spirits can be scary – a shaman can keep one under control, most of the time. As a painter, I’m always on the lookout for spirits and for shamans. If you accept the spirit... Continue reading »

Two Realities – the Promise of Surrealism in the Modern World

I’ve always been attracted to Surrealism. There is just something so delightfully odd, so weirdly compelling about surrealist imagery. In fact there are several ‘Surrealisms.” The one best known to the most people is the Surrealism of the Surrealist painters, such as Dali, Ernst, DeCherico, (briefly) Picasso, Magritte, and many others. However, the so-called ‘philosophical’ Surrealism is found in the writings of, primarily, Andre Breton. So I decided to go back and re-read Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto with fresh eyes. It’s been years… decades. Personally, I have not found Breton to be particularly lucid regarding the visual art... Continue reading »

Once Again, Art Insiders Co-opt “Outsider” Label

“Outsider” is back as an art world descriptor. Every so often, when the art wordsmiths, gallerists and curators run dry from dissecting current art trends, they revert to a newfound appreciation of so-called “Outsider” art.Folk artists, like Grandma Moses and her myriad rural artistic followers, were the key outsider school for a while. Then it was primitive black artists from the deep south. Then street artists of the graffiti persuasion. Then ‘visionary’ primitive, then ‘spiritual’ folk, and so forth. It never ends.According to Mr. Marcus Davies*, “To speak of outsider art is to refer to one element in... Continue reading »