Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Intuition at the Whitworth Manchester

I have been interested in Outsider Art for some time and have finally got round to seeing the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester recently. The Musgrave Kinley collection comprises about 800 pieces of work donated recently to the Whitworth Gallery. 

As you know Outsider Art is artwork created by untrained, self taught or the mentally ill. Artists working outside the conventions of the traditional artworld. Outsider art and Art Brut has been a major influence on the development of illustrator's visual language. Particularly in "new wave" of illustration in the early to mid eighties in the UK, and its influence is still visible in many contemporary illustrators. I could name any number of illustrators but Benoit Jacques, and Phillippe Weissbecker spring to mind perhaps even Chris Corr. Although folk art has a part to play there too. Perhaps the current vogue for folk inspired artwork is a similar yen for the honesty of untrained image making.

I was not overwhelmed by the show as a whole but there are many interesting pieces in it. It was good to see some of Henry Darger's originals as I missed the show in London a while ago.The works that stood out for me were by Adolph Wolfli, and Scottie Wilson, I like the obsessive and repetitious line work of Wilson. Many of the three dimensional sculptural pieces were very good too.
It is certainly worth a visit and the show is on until January.

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