We had the pleasure of having a guided visit at Andrew Edlin by the Associate Director Aurelie Bernard Wortsman. The gallery specializes in outsider art and art brut, term used to describe self-taught artists who can often be people with mental illnesses or disabilities and social outsiders. Andrew Edlin Gallery owns the Outsider Art Fair in New York in Paris and has been active for over 20 years.
The current exhibition "Parallel Phenomena" will be on view through July 2nd and consists of works of 4 artists: Carroll Dunham, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Gladys Nilsson, and Peter Saul. One can curiously discover and compare the distinct yet related visions of four different artists, each immersed in an eccentrically fueled universe, inhabited by pencil drawn and painted vibrant characters. Woven into the same conceptual tissue to create spontaneously constructed narratives, they each reveal individual inspirations but shared instincts.
The artworks having been created through a self-imposed solitude or a genetically driven isolation, with unobtrusive or lively atmospheres, by trained or untrained artists, organically channeled or strategically engineered works, the exhibit highlights the intense desire of Carroll Dunham, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Gladys Nilsson, and Peter Saul to portray reimagined worlds. While each artist merits careful individual consideration, they all show clear authenticity and individual aesthetics when it comes to figurative distortions.
An artist that greatly caught the eye of MAD54 is King, as she superbly uses art as her prime means of expression ever since she lost the ability to speak at the age of 4. Through acutely detailed drawings and childhood works depicting nightmarish scenes peopled by Disney characters, she methodically creates an entire analogous world. As she transcribes despite her silence, she fills her pages in a direct and consistent matter, without preliminary plan, never looking up, never using an eraser, until the page is complete.
Carroll Dunham’s expresses complex integration of formal crafting and philosophical thoughts into his artworks, as well as an approach towards the relationship between abstract and figuration through uniquely stylized, playful, almost grotesque human figures.
Gladys Nilsson on the other hand shows a densely layered parade of playful and meticulous imagery that portrays strong themes of human existence and sexuality. Not to mention Peter Saul’s canvases that embody the chaos and deformities that typify his scenes, building a satire of the American culture and glamorizing low subjects through genre-defying paintings. “Parallel Phenomena” is definitely an exhibit not to be missed.
Andrew Edlin's Gallery enables the public to enter an expanded scope of art often authored by social outcasts. Bernard Wortsman explains that one of their breakthrough artists is Henry Darger whose life-long works were only discovered after his death. He worked as a hospital custodian and simultaneously, almost secretly, created an incredibly large body of works. She mentions that they are working on an exciting upcoming show with works from Paulina Peavy and we absolutely cannot wait to see it!
We are grateful to have had the chance to experience "Parallel Phenomena" at Andrew Edlin gallery in company of Aurelie Bernard Wortsman who beautifully explained the works and lives of artists from the exhibition and taught us more about art brut and outsider art.
See more of our guided visit on our Instagram!