Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
An earlier post focused on Frank Moran, the carver who lived in an isolated part of northern Vermont. This doll was made by a woman in North Carolina who also was alone a lot. The previous owners said her name was Inez Walker (if I remember correctly) and that she made quite a few dolls, some lifesize. This doll has a wonderful face that seems to express authentic emotion. I know we're talking about a doll here, but to me that face says intelligence, longing and disappointment. Maybe it's the face of the maker.
Friday, September 25, 2009
This looks like it might be a scene from history or a famous story, but I don't know specifically what that would be. It's an old painting on what I would call black muslin, and quite large — 54 inches by about 34 inches. The edges are irregular as if it were cut from a frame. I'm thinking it might be fraternal art. If someone has some insight into its origins, please chime in.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Joseph Parker, who died in May, painted "higher dimensional light beings radiating brilliant rays of light and life," his Web site says. As you can see, Parker's paintings are intensely colorful and other-worldly. Pretty impressive considering he painted without the assistance of hallucinogens. Parker, a Jew born in Europe, hid from the Nazis during World War II and moved to the U.S. in the 1970s. Before becoming an artist, he was an accountant. He suffered migraine headaches and during hypnosis therapy experienced "an out-of-body experience where he was absorbed by the bright, pure light of Divine love, birthplace of the Living Soul," a Web site tribute explains, and became a believer in mysticism. Most recently Parker lived in Desert Hot Springs, Calif.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The powdery-dry paint on this sign advertises popcorn crispettes for 5 cents. "Um So Good." It's from St. Francisville, La., 30 minutes north of Baton Rouge. The Angola Prison Rodeo is held nearby. The lettering is painted on tin, which is attached to the wood stand.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Some visitors to our home are put off by this drawing done by Henry Speller, who lived in Memphis. They find it offensive and would rather look at art that follows the rules of decorum and taste. But if Speller had worried about offending viewers, he would have been forgotten. Instead, Speller's raw imagery is prized by collectors of outsider art. I never met Speller so I don't know if he enjoyed shocking people or had no clue his artwork might be disturbing. Either way, the internal censor was off and the art world is better off for it.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Frank Moran lived in a remote part of northern Vermont, not too far from Quebec. In 1933 he carved this bust of Lincoln, and several years later carved a larger seated Lincoln that's now in the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown. My parents lived in Cooperstown for some 20 years and I made numerous visits to the museum when I visited them. I always spent some time looking at the Lincoln, perhaps because I used to live in the Green Mountain State and I imagined Moran to be one of those flinty Vermonters I liked so much, but with artistic talent. When this head became available a decade ago, I jumped at the chance to buy it.
Here's more about Moran and the carving in Cooperstown:
Thursday, September 17, 2009
This crate-wood plane was made by a Georgia woman, June Allison. I really like it and have tried to find similar work by Allison, without success. In the middle is a screwdriver, which I guess is supposed to represent the plane's steering mechanism. Attached to the tail is a clothespin. The front opens to reveal a compartment. The simple green and off-white paint decoration is very attractive.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The homeowner transformed run-of-the-mill cement statuary into something special by painting and repainting them with glossy enamel. Each fruit has its own rich color. These came out of an estate in South Carolina.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I'm a sucker for machine-part molds because they come in all sorts of unusual shapes and often the colors are quite striking. The mold to the right in the first photo is wood and plaster, which is a bit less common.
Friday, September 11, 2009
An old text includes a foldout of the human body that shows no one is simple. It reminds me of why I was never much good at science; life is so complex. Pieces in the left figure in the third photo open up to reveal even more of our inner workings.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Ikea switches to Verdana for its catalog and the world explodes.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
That's the title of this painting done in the 1960s by the Rev. McKendree Robbins Long, who was born in North Carolina in 1888. It's in the collection of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. Although highly educated as an artist, Long gave up the pursuit of secular art in the 1920s to become a preacher. In the late 1940s he took up the brush once again to paint wild visions of the end of the world. Long died in 1976.