Naive art is misunderstood by most. Its main classification is anchored by the seemingly simplistic / childlike content or technique employed by the artist. However, just to illustrate one of my favorite artists in this genre is Henri Rousseau with one of his masterpieces at MoMA, which is a fanstastical jungle rendition of creatures creeping behind wonderland foliage. There is a skill set and artistry to naive or primitive art. Arte Fuse attended an opening at Rachel Uffner gallery last June 28th that showcased an impressive breadth of work touching on this art genre.
Curated by Amie Scally, this exhibition had ten artists associated with Oakland, California’s Creative Growth Art Center. Since it was established in 1974, Creative Growth consists of a gallery and studio arts program supporting the mentally, physically, and developmentally disabled adult artists. To date, there are more than 100 artists from all backgrounds and the majority of them in the Bay Area. The ten artists featured in the show are: David Albertsen, Maureen Clay, John Hiltunen, Dwight Mackintosh, Dan Miller, Donald Mitchell, Aurie Ramirez, Judith Scott, William Scott and William Tyler.
There was a vast spectrum of work at the show with illustrations, drawings, collage, and sculpture. Artists are expressive and evocative of mining from the gut of what resonates to them personally. There is a sense of wonder and fascination to the world they create individually. It ranges from a surrealistic dream of dogs in fancy dresses to a very cartoonish realm of characters. Essentially, these artists were given the resources of tools and space to fully explore their creative mettle. It is embodied successfully by the punctuated details and aesthetic zest for creativity emulated in each artwork.
Simplistic content is the most difficult aspect of creating in art. It necessitates honesty and a modest hand to skillfully master. These works are quite impressive not only because of the artists overcoming difficulties but rather it is earnest in showcasing the wide range and complexities of work produced at Creative Growth Art Center. This spurt of sheer imagination makes us naive if we choose to ignore it but we are far better for it when we absorb its unbridled inspiration.
Creative Growth / On View: June 28 – August 10, 2012
Summer Hours: Tuesday to Friday (11 am – 6 pm)
Rachel Uffner Gallery. 47 Orchard Street. New York, NY 10002
To find out more about Creative Growth, their artists and programs visit: www.creativegrowth.org
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan