Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Real, Outsider Art


I always cringe when I hear the term self-taught, because it implies that the artist was not educated. The artist may not have gone to college, but they might be educated in other ways that could actually work to their advantage and it certainly does not preclude them from making great art. That's a whole 'nother story that I don't want to veer into right now. But I really cringe whenever I hear the term art brut or outsider art because I'm almost always disappointed at the work I'll see. Do all these artists who produce outsider art go to an outsider school to learn the dozen or even fewer oeuvres that are so pat, so rote? I don't even bother to pick up publications with those titles anymore - they contain nothing new or different or exciting.

The point of saying all that was to introduce Dan Miller. Dan is autistic, which makes him even more of an outsider. Most of us don't know all that much about it. We've probably briefly encountered someone who was and that experience was our only education on the subject. There's certainly much more to know. If this subject had never been mentioned we'd view his abstract calligraphy like any other. I got so excited when I saw his work and wanted to see and know more. What was the thought process ? And after reading about and thinking about his thought process it makes you question your own.

Go to Creative Growth to read his story and see some of his work. (their image quality is terrible)
A better site to see some images of his work is White Columns. It's unfortunate that none of the sites have large views of his work.

The top image is from Artnet (they only have one), bottom image is from Rena Bransten Gallery (they also only have one image of his work in a group show).

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