Sunday, February 18, 2007

Weakness for Outsider Art

Friday afternoon, I called David to invite him and Jennifer to go to Fearrington Village for their annual Folk Art Show on Saturday. I knew that they would appreciate the art, as David has accompanied me on other folk art shopping trips in the past. Lemme just say: the art was amazing. I saw so many pieces that were really stunning. I am still daydreaming over this pottery pitcher that I saw... I might have to go back on Sunday!

I arrived a few minutes before David and Jennifer and the first person I ran into was Clyde Jones. He had some huge sparkly paintings that he was exhibiting, but not selling of course. I saw him sitting in some random chair outside of someone else's booth. He was eating one of the biggest barbeque sandwiches I have ever seen. I first met Clyde about 15 years ago... back when I used to make art myself. It took a couple trips out to Bynum to visit Clyde before he warmed up to me and we soon became very good friends. I would make art for him and he would make art for me. The last piece I made for him was STOLEN off his porch!!! He's even made my parents some artwork that hangs in their kitchen. Clyde is truly inspirational. But he picks on me and today was no exception. But it is always fun to throw a few jokes back and forth with Clyde.

Anyway, David, Jennifer and I wandered around the Fearrington Barn to look over everything. There was this one artist there from whom I bought some paintings two years ago for $10 - $20 and now the smallest piece in his booth was about $60!!! I said hello to him and kept going. After several laps, I hadn't decided on anything and I met back up with David and Jennifer. They decided on this angel painting and then they asked if I had seen the work of Benny Carter.

The three of us walked back over to Benny Carter's booth and I was blown away. His work was great. He loves to paint water scenes particularly Noah's Ark... but all the animals on the boat are of a single kind (all giraffes or all lions) and there are lots of people on the ark all fishing.

Carter also had a series of 9-11 paintings. I was turned off by them at first, because it seems that images of 9-11 are taboo. But the more I studied these pieces, the more intrigued I became. There were three similar 9-11 themed paintings in which Carter painted a diamond in the middle of a vibrant blue ocean with bridges carrying either taxis, NYPD or NYFD vehicles. At each point of the diamond was an apple tree (signifying the "Big Apple") and a sign on which an island was written: Staton, Ellis, Long, and Coney. In the center of the diamond, he attached circular button on which he created his image of Manhattan on 9-11, complete with the Twin Towers and planes and little people on a backdrop of an orange sky. I have no idea how he got that level of detail on there. My hands shake too much to even imagine trying to capture that sort of detail. (Click on the photo to see what I am talking about.)

I had a nice chat with Benny Carter about his work. He loves to include water in his paintings and he loves the Adam and Eve and the snake theme. He had this one painting that included 9-11 and Adam and Eve being chased by snakes. It was crazy. He lives north of Greensboro in Mayodan... a town I have never heard of. He showed us pictures of his house and yard... and it is reminiscent of Clyde Jones house or even Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens.. I feel a road trip coming on very soon...

1 comment:

Christa said...

oh man, i'm sorry i missed going to that show with you. i had such a good time last year...