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Small purple dots and squares coalesce into wild patterns branching in every direction, organizing themselves around a grid that expands beyond the edges of the paper containing them. They seem to come from everywhere at once. And nowhere. Vertiginous. It’s just ink on graph paper.
The scale of everything has shrunk. A barber carves peach stones with jackknives far larger than the pits themselves — a tiny world of wishbones, buttons, shells, keys and others that defy swift classification.
Another man paints colorful landscapes full of yearning on Polaroid cartridges, their dark frames surrounding the luminous terrain.
There are many small abstract tantric paintings here as well. Tantra is the movement of an image from two to three dimensions, the transference of energy from the realm of psyche into the world of things. Energy becomes manifest in the world through Tantra, the root of animistic beliefs. Here, it is occurring everywhere, the utilitarian objects of everyday life blest by images.
This is a description of the 2017 Outsider Art Fair; I wonder: does this fair exist as a window to give us savvy Westerners a view of the soul we’ve left behind? Have we caged out soul like Rilke’s panther so that it has become fantastical and foreign to us — something categorized as other?
There is much documentation of psychic disturbance and illnesses, mental and physical, at the fair. But the imagination is in far greater evidence. The imagination is a faculty for generating fantastical images, images for tantric transformation. We all have one. We know — if we believe what the mystics, neoplatonists and depth psychologists (among others) tell us — that the imagination is the mechanism by which the soul comes to know itself in a process known as reflection. The soul becomes visible in the images the imagination produces.
Here, at the Outsider Art Fair, everyone’s soul is visible, like trees growing out of their heads, waving in the wind. It should be like this everywhere. It makes it so much easier to see and to move.
In fact, it is like this everywhere. But we don’t tend to look at it. So we need a window through the walls of our house to see the trees outside.
The Gnostics believed that a demiurge, a being violently hostile to all things spiritual, rules the material world. Its control of things is now nearly absolute. There is no need to be a Gnostic to see the materialism that dominates our priorities.
These “outsiders” are getting down into the stuff of everyday life with their million knick-knacks, their junk collecting, their use of whatever happens to be lying around. They animate the things of this world and arrange them such that soul can be seen through them, allowing the infinite to become visible via the finite, a path through the material to the divine.
Poussin and the Dance is a valiant attempt to break into Poussin’s staunchly academic oeuvre and provide a relatable point of entry, highlighting the exciting elements of revelry and movement despite impenetrable and unemotional rendering.
Anarchist illustrator N.O. Bonzo produces decentralized media in a highly bureaucratic cultural landscape. Their illustrations, murals, and literature emerge in unexpected places, from the streets of Portland, Oregon, to the far ends of Reddit and Twitter, addressing relations of labor and identity in the workplace and on the streets. Growth and care are central themes…
This exhibition explores how images of the human body were used to provoke profound physical and emotional responses in viewers from the 15th through 18th centuries.
With scavenged materials, Amanda Maciel Antunes constructs a motherland.
Where are the directors taking the stage to acknowledge workers’ demands today?
The collaborative handmade paper- and printmaking center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts publishes new works by Liz Collins and Sarah McEneaney.
There is a debate whether the memory of Little Syria should be seized upon to tell truthful and positive stories about Arabs in the US, or whether any conflation between its history and contemporary politics is inappropriate.
The profile includes works by Egon Schiele, Amedeo Modigliani, Peter Paul Rubens, and a prehistoric Venus of Willendorf figurine.
These horrifying dolls definitely won’t murder you in your sleep.