Art Brut IV

Matthew Nightingale-Untitled 2018
Matthew Nightingale-Untitled 2018

Art brut also known as outsider or visionary or self taught art is an ever expanding field as it has attracted considerable attention in the 21st Century, now with its own dedicated galleries, museums, exhibitions, art fairs and publications. In this the fourth group post on this fascinating subject I have chosen three artists currently at work and one who, although working on creating his own imaginary utopia for sixty years was only discovered in the first decade of the new century, towards the end of his life.

Matthew Nightingale

An ex-prisoner Nightingale takes between six months to a year to create his meretricious crafted paintings, often combining mixed media. He has only recently agreed to representation, by the excellent Henry Boxer Gallery in the UK, as he is loathed to be parted with his work, so information concerning the artist is scarce. Highly decorative borders featuring flora, fauna and religious iconography frequently surround a central figure of a woman, skull or foetus in utero. Finely crafted inserts are another notable feature.

Matthew Nightingale-2018
Matthew Nightingale-2018
Matthew Nightingale-2017/2018
Matthew Nightingale-2017/2018
Matthew Nightingale-2015
Matthew Nightingale-2015

Anne Marie Grgich

One of the most respected art brut artists working today, who has exhibited all across the world, Grgich has mastered her own unique form of collage. Taking a book from the 1950’s she will over-paint, collage and then paint some more to form layers. Renowned for her bold expressionistic faces, I am also particularly taken by her vibrantly crowded recent works.

Anne Marie Grgich-Mute Siren
Anne Marie Grgich-Mute Siren
Anne Marie Grgich-Corseticus 2016
Anne Marie Grgich-Corseticus 2016
Anne Marie Grgich-Population Olympics 2013
Anne Marie Grgich-Population Olympics 2013
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Anne Marie Grgich

Margot

Apart from a brief artist statement which reveals that even the name is a pseudonym, I could find no information about this artist. Born in 1982, at the age of 32 Margot suddenly started drawing tirelessly. Precise, elaborate, bursting with a kinetic energy and a over-flowing symmetry, the art speaks for itself.

Margot-Construction utopique n31
Margot-Construction utopique n31
Margo- Matrone
Margo- Matrone
Margot-Alterego
Margot-Alterego
Margot Untitled
Margot Untitled

Renaldo Kuhler

A talented self taught artist, Kuhler worked at the North Carolina Museum of Natural History as a scientific illustrator for most of his life. He always had happy memories of his brief period growing up in Rockland County, New York in an otherwise unhappy childhood and it was here that he based his imaginary kingdom of Rocaterrania, bordered by Canada and Northern New York state. Rocaterrania had its own laws, language, ethnic groups, customs and even members of a third sex called neutants.

Renaldo Kuhler
Renaldo Kuhler
Renaldo_Kuhler
Renaldo_Kuhler
Renaldo Kuhler
Renaldo Kuhler
Renaldo Kuhler
Renaldo Kuhler
Renaldo Kuhler-Map of Rocaterrania
Renaldo Kuhler-Map of Rocaterrania

The Queen of the Lesser Lands

Marie Von Bruenchenhein-Eugene Von Bruenchenhein circa 1945
Marie Von Bruenchenhein-Eugene Von Bruenchenhein circa 1945

The self taught artist Eugene Von Bruenchenhein worked in a variety of mediums including painting, drawing, sculpture (using chicken bones) and photography, all of which adorned the modest house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that he lived in for forty years with his wife and muse, Marie.

Eugene’s marriage to Evelyn Kalka in 1943 (he re-named her Marie) seemed to have ignited a creative spark. Over the next two decades he would photograph Marie thousand of times, as a pin-up girl, tropical tourist, vixen, Madonna. Bedecked with pearls, clunky fetish heels, lurid leopard prints against florid wall coverings, Marie looks wistfully upwards, awkward and gauche. The photographs are simultaneously curiously innocent and charged with an subterranean current of obsessional eroticism. Marie at times seems like a  harbinger of Cindy Sherman, assuming and thereby questioning a number of manufactured female roles.

Eugene was convinced that he was descended from royalty and was the self-styled King of the Lesser Lands. Undoubtedly he saw Marie as his Queen in the fantasy world they had created, she is frequently wearing a crown that he fashioned out of tin cans.

Art Brut II

Blue Birds in the Tree-Scottie Wilson ca 1960
Blue Birds in the Tree-Scottie Wilson ca 1960

One of my more popular posts, and a piece that I have a special fondness for is Art Brut, which highlighted the work of visionary/outsider artists without formal training, many of whom were institutionalised for mental illness. This was followed shortly after by tangentially related posts on The Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace and the Acid Cats of Louis Wain, again pieces I am quite tender about,  if only because I got to indulge my penchant for purple prose (anyone for a spot of hallucinated decorative splendour?), while showcasing truly exceptional art and architecture.

So after a delayed interval, (a butterfly for a mind), here are more artists driven by an urgent inner necessity to create intensely luminous works of art.

Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern

Born in East Prussia (now Russia) Friedrich Schroder was sent to a juvenile delinquent facility at the age of 14 and was committed to an asylum at 17. During the 1920’s he founded a cult, though any money raised went to feeding the destitute ruined by the hyper-inflation of the time. In 1930 he was institutionalised again for debt and working as a conman, posing as Dr Eliot Gnass von Sonnenstern (Sun Star). It was during this period that he met an artist who encouraged him to draw. During WWII he spent further time in prison and labour camps. Friedrich’s allegorical drawings and paintings ladened with erotic symbolism was lauded by the artist and critic Jean Dubuffet, the man responsible for coining the phrase Art Brut.

Schonwarsia Mondmarchen-Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern 1954
Schonwarsia Mondmarchen-Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern-1954
The-Demoness-of-Urgency-Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstern-1958
The-Demoness-of-Urgency-Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstern 1958
The Moon-Moralistic Veneration of the Artist's Bones - Friedrich Schröder- Sonnenstern
The Moon-Moralistic Veneration of the Artist’s Bones – Friedrich Schröder- Sonnenstern

Consuelo González Amezcua

Born in Mexico, Consuelo (Chelo) Amezcua moved to Del Rio, Texas at the age of five where she was remain for the rest of her life, working at the local department store selling candy. She won a scholarship to study art in Mexico City but her father died, leading her to forfeit the scholarship so that she could remain with her family. Known locally as an eccentric, her family paid little interest in her drawings and poetry (which is frequently incorporated in her art), though at the age of 65 she was the subject of her first exhibition. Chelo’s work is characterised by biblical imagery, Mexican folklore and stunning filigree decorative motifs.

McNay Art Institute and Chelo-Consuelo) Gonzalez Amezcuacirca 1967
McNay Art Institute and Chelo-Consuelo Gonzalez Amezcua circa 1967
The_Prophecy-Consuelo González Amezcua 1966
The_Prophecy-Consuelo González Amezcua 1966
Consuelo (Chelo) Gonzalez Amezcua
Consuelo (Chelo) Gonzalez Amezcua

Joseph E.Yoakum

Jospeh E.Yoakum was born in Missouri of African-American, Cherokee and French descent. He joined the circus at nine and worked for Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show which toured Europe between 1903 to 1906. He served in France during WWI. After the war he travelled throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, working on railroads and as a seaman. Joseph settled in the Southside of Chicago in the late 1920’s, working at various occupations including carpenter, janitor and mechanic. At the age of 72 he was inspired by a dream to start making art, calling it ‘spiritual unfoldment’. During the last decade of his life he produced thousands of anthropomorphic landscapes inspired by his extensive travels.

Near Naples. Italy-Joseph E. Yoakum
Near Naples. Italy-Joseph E. Yoakum
Near Damascus Syria-Joseph E. Yoakum
Near Damascus, Syria-Joseph E. Yoakum
Near Trieste-Joseph E. Yoakum
Near Trieste-Joseph E. Yoakum

Scottie Wilson

Born of Jewish descent, Louis Freeman grew up in the tenements of Glasgow, Scotland,  dropping out of school at the age of eight to help provide income for the struggling family. He later enlisted in the army, changing his name to Scottie Wilson. After serving in WWI he moved to Toronto, Canada, where he owned a second-hand store. At the age of 44 he was listening to Mendelssohn when, all of a sudden, he dipped a pen into the inkwell and started drawing. Pablo Picasso and Andre Breton were early collectors of his intricate and decorative drawings of birds, fish and fauna.

House of Peace-Scottie Wilson
House of Peace-Scottie Wilson
Scottie Wilson
Scottie Wilson
Scottie Wilson
Scottie Wilson