The artwork of Los Angeles-based Sarajo Frieden literally explodes out of the canvas, this challenging, confronting, colourful burst of shapes and textures, at once disjointed yet somehow perfectly in place. She says of her work: ‘The cacophony of hand-painted signs in a variety of languages serves as both inspiration and daily reminder that the ordinary is often extraordinary and nothing is what it seems. A host of disparate vocabularies from the worlds of fine, folk and decorative art, including Persian miniatures, Shaker trance drawings, Japanese ukiyo-e, and my Hungarian great aunt’s embroidery, can be found wandering through my images. I try to give form to the human experience as I see it’.
Described as being ‘familiar, yet horribly unique and fresh’, San Francisco-based artist Matthew Palladino creates portraits of American life that are inspired by current media events. The often raw and violent subject matter is diffused by a flat drawing style that draws upon folk references and early mission school artists.
This mini-museum is right next to that shining fortress of New York’s MOMA and always has interesting shows, is never crowded, and the works are sure to inspire you. The Folk Art Museum is best known for putting now-popular outsider artist Henry Darger under a huge spotlight. And they’re showing some of his masterpieces yet again. Don’t miss it!
I’ve been enthralled for quite a while now with the work of San Francisco artist Maxwell Loren Holyoke Hirsch. His illustrations embody a sense of spontaneity and raw feeling, much like a skilled jazz musician feeling out a bouncing rhythm, riffing this way and that. Holyoke Hirsch has illustrated for numerous publications, including The New York Times and Fantagraphics, as well as just recently having had his first solo show, A Season in Hell, at Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose. We caught up with him recently.
When looking at the beautiful paintings of Mamma Anderson, I almost get the impression that the art world is being forced to look back upon itself. The body of her work seems to present itself like a textured snapshot of galleries, coffeshops and well-designed interiors. The rough, folksy execution of these paintings stands in pretty stark contrast to the particularly slick world she chooses to depict. Refreshing, to say the least.
Artist James Benjamin Franklin has been brightening up every Saturday for me over the past month or so, accompanying an ongoing story by Laura Lippman in the New York Times Magazine. I really dig his simple, slightly surreal, minimal style, emphasizing folksy figures with clean spare detail and beautiful Milton Avery-esque palettes.
I’ve long been a fan of Brooklyn artist Katy Horan. With a folksy old west, native american aesthetic, Horan creates paintings rich with narrative, like old campfire stories, come to life. Having recently opened her first solo show at the Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose, Horan has created a haunting new body of work filled […]
Swapping life in Boston for the wide spaces of Santa Fe, Mexican artist Brian Willmont is creating pieces that are described as ‘Technicolor American folklore’. His work explores themes such as American history within dreamscapes. I particularly love the work from Feudal Echo, a show he shares with Alex Lukas at San Francisco’s Park Life […]
Who couldn’t love the bizarre, folksy work of Drew Beckmeyer. Though there are a number of artists currently working within this field of folk and outsider art, Beckmeyer’s paintings stand out immediately on the sheer wit, both aesthetic and intellectual, that they contain.
Sounds like a museum for grandma? Sorry, you’re wrong. The quiet neighbor of superstar MOMA, the American Folk Art Museum in New York in fact has lots of really cool, contemporary and edgy shows, sometimes even more so than the MOMA itself.