featured gallery for June 2016

Into the Beyond: Vernacular Visions


Brown. Green. Blue. Hazel. Black. Red. Bandaged. Closed. Hidden.

Using Roger Brown’s Illusion as a starting point, this online gallery explores the power of sight that transcends literal seeing. Research dictates that over eighty percent of human perception is derived through the eyes. It is the primary mode of interacting with the world and the gateway to physical and psychological experience. The beginning, the middle, and the end. As Plato stated, “Vision, in my view, is the cause of the greatest benefit to us, inasmuch as none of the accounts now given concerning the Universe would ever have been given if men had not seen the stars or the sun or the heavens.”

Sight and vision for an artist, whether self-taught or trained, are paramount. They become innate tools to artistic creation and discovery and are a common thread found throughout the images in this gallery. Sight is step one – perception of the world around you and your place in it. Vision is step two – the psychological and philosophical interpretation of the world around you based on the images you have seen.

Roger Brown is one of the most well-known members of the Hairy Who or the Chicago Imagists who became popular in the 1960s. The Chicago Imagists were the Midwest’s answer to Pop Art. Deeply influenced by everyday life, the Chicago Imagists drew inspiration from, and celebrated the vernacular. The Hairy Who also had a deep connection to self-taught artists and Roger Brown himself was a highly prolific collector. The influence of Henry Darger, Lee Godie, Joseph Yoakum and many others influenced Brown’s artistic vision and freedom.

Just as Brown was inspired by the work of outsiders as well as trained artists; popular cultural ephemerae; textiles and crafts; travel souvenirs and much more; this online gallery aims to seamlessly weave self-taught, trained, and craft works together. The well-known adage “the eyes are the window into the soul,” plays out, whether through the piercing red eyes of Matthew Hines’, Monster, or the bandaged and covered eyes of Frederick Weston’s Blue in the Face III; or the vibrant fuchsia eyes of Darrell Jonesuntitled (mask); each set of eyes provides the viewer with a window into each artist’s vision and their psychological and philosophical interpretation of the world.