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A New Discovery in Morocco

Self-taught artist Aziz lives alone in a garage in Salé, Morocco. Every day for the last four years, he has been embellishing his colossal work in painted concrete, spontaneously creating animal sculptures from cement leaves and flowers. 

For more information about Aziz, contact Francois Beaurain fcbeaurain@gmail.com.

Strobl Drawings at Drawing Lab Paris

until September 20, 2019

Group exhibition "The Projective Drawing" at Drawing Lab Paris, curated by Brett Littman, includes eight artworks by Gugging artist Leopold Strobl, who is featured in the upcoming issue of Raw Vision magazine.

Drawing Lab Paris
17 Rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris, France
www.drawinglabparis.com

 

Thomas Lyon Mills at Ricco/Maresca Gallery, NY

until September 7, 2019

For more than 30 years, Thomas Lyon Mills has been granted rare access to paint in the Italian catacombs and European pagan sites. From there, beginning with his onsite work and the influence of his dreams, he returns to his studio to work on pieces – often for years. Ricco/Maresca Gallery presents "Thomas Lyon Mills: Liminal Space" through September 7. 

Ricco/Maresca Gallery
529 W. 20th St, New York, NY 10011
www.riccomaresca.com

From Ricco/Maresca's website:

 

DRAWING and MAPS
Despite increasingly precise measurements, contemporary maps of the cosmos or the minutiae of the sub-atomic world will likely be no more accurate in the future than ancient seafaring maps picturing half-remembered landscapes and sea monsters.

Like a mapmaker, I find that my paintings inevitably cross over into the unknown. This then, is my region—where the visible meets the invisible and where the seen pays a constant debt to the unseen.

Maps are akin to drawing: they are specific, not vague, revealing ideas with precision and authority. Ironically, it is the discrepancy between one’s unfocussed marks—one’s lack of precision compared with the purity of the subject, full of complexity and invisible forces at work—that leads to the prolonged search.

Everything is heightened when I work: my sight, hearing, touch, breathing, heart rate, neurological paths… Limits dissolve between the senses. Along with this synesthesia, primordial forces rush in.

I learn from myriad artists. Fan Kuan and Hasegawa Tōhaku emphasize breathing; Piero della Francesca creates silence through intricate geometry; Olivier Messiaen composes with an ecstatic mysticism. Above all, I learn from the endless surprises of Rome. I first moved to Rome in 1989 as a young professor at the Rhode Island School of Design when I was chosen to be the academic head of the college’s European Honors Program. Since then, I have lived in Rome for a total of nine years adding together sabbaticals and summers.

YEARS UNDERGROUND IN ROME
I can imagine why Freud went to Rome to dream. I consider Rome my spiritual home, especially its underground, given how my dreams have become one with its palimpsest. With official permission, I explore and paint alone in many archeological sites, especially the catacombs—burial sites for Rome’s early Christian and Jewish population. Like an insect instinctively drawn to the scent of a certain flower, I must go to these places.

Catacombs exist in absolute darkness, with a silence so complete I can hear my heartbeat. What do I find? Borgesian mazes intersect and form many levels filled with dank odors and high humidity. Skeletons nearly two thousand years old embrace one another in their tombs. Paintings and carvings form a nascent spiritual language. I find the strangest of wildlife: long, worm-like creatures with millipede-like legs coexist with ten-inch tall phosphorescent mantises that give off an eerie green light. Half-inch milk-colored poisonous spiders crawl into my shoes and make me a regular customer at the pharmacy. Blind transparent spiders the size of my hand click along the walls. Like fireflies, luminous aphids skitter by the thousands up and down the stalagmites and stalactites that enshroud tombs.

In the catacombs, time is no longer linear, but rather elastic, circular and liminal. Trees and 

mosses dissolve into tunnels and roots. Walls go transparent, tilt and levitate. Apparitions abound. In one space I frequently hear hundreds of marching feet. In another I always feel, and often see, a presence watching over me.

RELATED SITES
In spite of being diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis—which in my case has manifested itself with hand tremors, balance issues, and fatigue—I have so many ideas that I will do whatever it takes to work. In the studio I cross-pollinate my catacomb paintings with other sites in which I have worked: Mythraeums (caves of the sun god Mithras where worship included animal sacrifices) and innumerable other pagan sites. I have gone high up into the Pantheon’s inner rooms and down into the lower regions of the Colosseum and its connected Cloaca Maxima (in Latin, Greatest Sewer). I made drawings (where my hand shook with adrenalin) on the ceiling restoration of the Sistine Chapel. I have worked throughout Italy, Turkey, Russia, and in Mexico. My work in Greece has taken me to the Cycladic quarries on Paros and Naxos (now forgotten like extinct volcanoes) and to the top of the Parthenon in Athens. On top of this marble high wire I learned through my drawings that its structure—not just its robust, convex columns—bends convexly with entasis. This is a perfect example of architectural genius, invisible to the naked eye: an unforgettable lesson about subtlety. I also saw fifth-century BCE chicken bones (a worker’s preserved lunch!) tucked under a capital, while other capitals had bright paint fragments.

In the Adirondack Mountains I work in a swamp that reminds me of the underground with its watery smells, populated by iridescent moss-covered yellow birches. There I have witnessed a doe give birth fifteen feet away, an eagle landing close to me and perhaps thinking of me as food; bears, porcupines, and snakes passing by, accompanied by a panoply of birds and their songs.

MATERIALS and PROVIDENCE, RI STUDIO
I love paper. I can piece it, tear it and fold it. I can add and subtract it. It travels with ease into the narrowest, hard-to-reach tunnels underground. My paper and watercolors remain damp due to the high humidity below ground and disintegrate—in the best sense—under repeated erasing and sanding. Back in my studio I often work on my papers for years, growing and shrinking them as the images coalesce. Sometimes woodcuts and etchings, found objects, paper scraps and children’s drawings are introduced like musical instruments, to further orchestrate the psychic necessities of my work.

I have built an archive of images from museums, archeological sites, and landscapes. The studio is the perfect place for these images to integrate into my work. Most importantly, I have my library of unconscious states. I document my dreams in sketchbooks with narratives and drawings. Often these dreams have proven to be disturbingly prophetic: precise images of sites in which I have not yet worked. When I enter a space and discover that I had already dreamt it, I think, “how marvelously the brain works!” Ultimately, all of my sites are transformed into one world—one cosmology. This is my preferred world, the shadow world of memory, time and dreams.

Perhaps the Russian mystic, Pavel Florensky, describes this boundary region best when he writes “we experience moments … when … two worlds grow so very near in us that we can see their intimate touching … [where] the veil of visibility is torn apart, and through that tear … we can sense that the invisible world (still unearthly, still invisible) is breathing: and that both this and another world are dissolving into each other”.

-Thomas Lyon Mills

 

Creative Growth, Oakland CA

until August 10, 2019

"Unfiltered: An Artist-Curated Exhibition" transforms the Creative Growth gallery into an experimental curatorial space as five artists – Kim Clark, Carlos Perez, Ray Vickers, Joanna Beal and Lynn Pisco – take over the gallery with installations of their work.

Creative Growth Art Center
355 24th Street, Oakland CA 94612 USA
creativegrowth.org

From Creative Growth's website:

Upcoming | Unfiltered: An Artist-Curated Exhibition

At Creative Growth, the artists lead the way. The studio’s non-directive philosophy, coupled with support from fellow contemporary artists, has provided artists working in the studio with the opportunity to develop bodies of work that are exhibited, collected, and celebrated worldwide. Inclusion in major contemporary art exhibitions and collections is essential for any artist’s career and creative development, but just as important is the artist’s presentation and interpretation of their own oeuvre. Unfiltered: An Artist-Curated Exhibition will transform the Creative Growth gallery into an experimental curatorial space as five artists take over the gallery with installations of their work.

We have much to learn from the artists at Creative Growth. By curating exhibitions of their own work, Kim ClarkCarlos PerezRay VickersJoanna Beal, and Lynn Pisco will reveal the depths of their individual processes and provide insight into how each artist conceptualizes their creative expression over time. Kim ClarkRay Vickers, and Lynn Pisco are each making selections from their prolific bodies of work. Clark has been attending Creative Growth for 19 years and in that time has developed a distinctive body of paintings, drawings, and textiles that translate celebrity culture into expressively hand drawn and embroidered portraits. Vickers’s decade of artwork similarly derives from pop culture. In his case, the themes and graphic style of comic books and action movies provide fodder: super-hero masks and bat-like ink blots multiply over planes in tessellated designs; stylized faces, eyes, hands, and arrows are arranged in energetic and narrative patterns; and a series of work focusing on vengeful and dead bunnies reads as frames in a graphic novel. Pisco is choosing several themes in her corpus of cartoons to present on the ramp.

Carlos Perez’s oeuvre is populated by ceramic, drawn, and sculpted monsters around which he weaves complex mythologies of good and evil. For the exhibition, Perez has created a rare large-scale wood and textile sculpture that continues the monsters’ stories that he has been telling at Creative Growth since 2008. Joanna Beal will also be presenting new work for Unfiltered. Best known for her densely wrapped fiber sculptures, Beal is using her curatorial platform to introduce a new ephemeral modality in which she builds layers of paint, tape, and paper to install site-specifically.

Accompanying Unfiltered: An Artist-Curated Exhibition is a group show of work made by artists in the Creative Growth Saturday Youth Program.

Maroncelli 12, Milan

until September 27, 2019

"Maria Callegaro e Alessandro Santoro. Margins of the sky" presents 20 works by these two contrasting artists.   

Maroncelli 12 
Via Maroncelli, 12 – 20154 Milan, Italy
www.maroncelli12.it

From Maroncelli 12's website:

The “Margins of the sky” exhibition is dedicated to the painting of Maria Callegaro and Alessandro Santoro. It is about twenty works created by two artists far from age and origin but united by a boundless imagination that from the “evils” of the earth looks up to a sky where everything can still happen.

She never touched a brush until she was 76 years old. Maria Callegaro (1919-2013) comes from a humble and numerous family. She spends her adolescence helping her family. She gets married very young and when her husband gets Alzheimer she constantly assists him. The specialist in charge of Mario introduces her to painting so that she could share her visions. Thus began an intense pictorial activity that led her to produce over four hundred works in just over ten years.

Hers is not an introspective journey, not the rhetoric of emotion and intimacy: the artist represents the constant contrast in human life between good and evil, matter and spirit. The art historian Bianca Tosatti identifies her as a mediumistic visionary: “Unforgettable the blues pierced by gold splinters, as well as those spiraling vortices that are sometimes found in the cosmological iconographies of hell, paradises or however all that is beyond. Inside this blue sails a boundless visionary” she writes in the catalog of the exhibition “Longevi Visionari” (Museo Ala Ponzone, Cremona, 2006). Her pictorial production is preceded and accompanied by a rich dreamlike work. Maria draws her inspiration from the sky. According to the artist, our world is horrible but God (the sun, therefore life, love, energy, present in most of the canvases) helps us to reflect and choose what our destiny will be. But breaking the laws of the sky brings pain and destruction. And then the stars instead of dew make the “rust”, poisonous and infectious substances, fall on the earth. Painting and word proceed parallel. The depositary artist of an ancient knowledge feels that she must transmit it to future generations. “My task is to make humanity understand that it is on the wrong path”.

The painting of Alessandro Santoro (1969-2007) too, represents a cosmogony where circular shapes like spheres, wheels and spirals alternate against a sky-background, in this case, not blue but midnight blue. To illuminate them not the sun but the moon, in the form of disk or sickle but also of word. In 1991, with the heightening of psychic distress, his impulse to paint grows, he realizes even more than one painting a day, he wakes up at night to fill the canvas, often front and back, so much that in a decade he would make a thousand drawings and about 400 paintings.

In his works the urban space appears to be crossed by contrasting, threatening forces: cables and technological machinery suffocate it, snakes or insects loom from above as presages of an imminent disaster. And then there are the Eviotals, the creatures with one eye, the fruit of his imagination that androgynous and threadlike float “in a place devoid of original sin – Santoro writes – … or just let themselves be surrounded by water, skies, plants, fruits and earth”. The Eviotals that recall the stylized mannequins of Enzo Cucchi and Mimmo Paladino possess “moons, trajectories and trails … they possess the vanity of truth” and for this “they would like to instruct to live”. These large figures that dominate the canvases gradually lose stability, the circular and deep brushstrokes fade the outlines. And the atmosphere becomes darker as evidenced by some titles he gives to his operas: The fatigue of life, The guilt, Deadly strait. Until suddenly the artist decides to stop painting.

Halle Saint Pierre, Paris

until August 2, 2019

"Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow" explores Chicago’s history of embracing art beyond the mainstream through works by ten of its own influential artists, including Henry Darger, Lee Godie, Mr. Imagination, Drossos Skyllas, Dr. Charles Smith and Joseph Yoakum.

Parallel exhibition "Hey! Modern Art & Pop Culture #4" includes works of outsider art, visionary art and art singulier.

Halle Saint Pierre
2 rue Ronsard, 75018 Paris, France
www.hallesaintpierre.org

Jennifer Lauren Gallery, London

July 9–17, 2019

日本の陶芸家 三人展

(AN EXHIBITION OF THREE POTTERS)

The Jennifer Lauren Gallery will present a rare exhibition of the work of Shinichi Sawada, one of the most recognised art brut artists from Japan, as an official event of the Japan Season of Culture. Sawada will be displayed alongside the first British showcase of Akio Kontani and Nobuo Sasaki, two fellow self-taught Japanese ceramicists, little known in this country but sharing a complementary style. All three artists’ ceramics feature bold visionary creatures and demons, alongside more recognisable animals.

Sway Gallery
72 Old Street, London, EC1V 9AN
www.jenniferlaurengallery.com

Madge Gill Retrospective in London

until September 22, 2019

A major retrospective of visionary artist Madge Gill in her home town brings together drawings, newly uncovered large-scale embroideries, textiles and archival objects, many of which have never been exhibited before.

Madge Gill was born in Walthamstow and spent most of her years living in East London. A self-taught, visionary artist, she created meticulous artworks, many of which she attributed to Myrninerest, her spirit-guide that she came to embody. This landmark exhibition in her home town brings together drawings, newly uncovered large-scale embroideries, textiles and archival objects, many of which have never been exhibited before.

William Morris Gallery
Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 4PP, UK
www.wmgallery.org.uk

Art Park Project in Baltimore

Brian Dowdall (1948–2018) and Alison Spiesman's Art Park Project, a storytelling and art explorations community outreach, was launched this year. Operating under the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks division, APP takes place at six NE recreation centres and explores the "wees'" work inspired by celebrated outsider artists.

See Alison Spiesman's installation at Baltimore City Recreation and Parks lobby through August.

Tim ter Wal in Vienna

until August 15, 2019 

"Dreamscapecity" presents architectural drawings by Dutch artist Tim ter Wal.

Österreichische Gesellschaft vom Goldenen Kreuze
Kärntner Straße 26 (Eingang Marco-dAviano-Gasse 1), 1010 Vienna, Austria
www.oeggk.at

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