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Andrew Edlin Gallery, NY

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until April 20, 2019

In group exhibition "We Shall Make America Wonder", Andrew Edlin Gallery presents the art of Joe Coleman, Felipe Jesus Consalvos, Henry Darger and Duke Riley; four visionary artists whose worlds are built up with a richness of minutiae.

Andrew Edlin Gallery
212 Bowery, New York, NY 10012

From Andrew Edlin Gallery's Press Release:

Andrew Edlin Gallery is proud to present « We Shall Make America Wonder, » a group exhibition featuring the art of Joe Coleman, Felipe Jesus Consalvos, Henry Darger and Duke Riley.

These four visionaries are each eminent cartographers of latent lands, where the unimaginable is fully imagined and otherness is not only recognizable but relatable. Their worlds apart are built up with a richness of minutiae, an internal logic that allows the irrational to ring true.
For some of these artists God is in the details, for others it is likely the devil. Collectively, we can see them as embroiderers of some quilt-like map of all the madness, superstition, faith, desire and dread festering within the American psyche.

—Carlo McCormick

Joe Coleman (b.1955) is a New York-based artist best known for his highly colorful and intricate illustrations and paintings, which often take fringe historical figures and fallen pop cultural icons as their subjects. Wearing jeweler lenses and using single-hair brushes to cover every micron of every surface, the artist typically spends several months to several years on one painting. The dense referencing and idiosyncratic complexity present in the works have drawn comparisons to the Dutch master Hieronymus Bosch, while his use of color and collage-like effects indicate his background as a comic book artist. His work has been exhibited in major institutions across the globe, including the American Folk Art Museum, Palais de Toyko, Paris, the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, the Barbican Centre in London, Tilton Gallery and Dickinson Gallery in New York.

A self-appointed “artist, healer, and man,” Felipe Jesus Consalvos (1891-1960) worked for much of his life as a cigar roller, elevating the vernacular tradition of cigar band collage to a sophisticated practice. The Havana-born artist immigrated to Miami around 1920, eventually settling in New York and then Philadelphia. His obsessive body of work—over 750 surviving collages on paper, found photographs, musical instruments, furniture, and other unexpected surfaces—was discovered in 1980 at a West Philadelphia garage sale. Described by art critic Roberta Smith as a “self-starting modernist,” his collages share the biting socio-political satire and absurdist impulse of Dadaists and Surrealist works. His work can be found in numerous collections, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the American Folk Art Museum, the Harvard Art Museums, and the Museum of Everything, London. 

Henry Darger (1892-1973) was a reclusive hospital janitor and dishwasher who led a secret life as a prolific visual artist and epic novelist. His vast collection of creative works was discovered in 1972 when his two-room apartment in Chicago was cleared out shortly before he died. Over some 350 watercolor, pencil, collage and carbon-traced drawings, as well as seven typewritten hand-bound books, thousands of bundled sheets of typewritten text, and numerous journals, ledgers and scrapbooks were discovered. His works are in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the American Folk Art Museum, the Collection de L’Art Brut, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., among others. 

Duke Riley (b.1972) received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from Pratt Institute. He is fascinated by maritime history and interweaves historical and contemporary events with elements of fiction and myth to create allegorical histories. His vast and diverse body of work includes environmental extravaganzas such as “Fly By Night,” where he released hundreds of homing pigeons affixed with LED lights lighting up the night sky in New York (2016) and London (2018). He also fabricates his own monumentally sized sheets of paper which he covers in ink with epic scenes and characters. His work can be found in numerous institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Queens Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.