Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Uncommon Folk

"I have had a joy from which no one can rob me - I have been able to touch some people with my art."
Mary Cassatt

Who could have predicted the destiny of these artworks? 
 This question came to me over a month ago, when I visited the Milwaukee Art Museum to enjoy the exhibition that is currently on display until May 4.
  The Uncommon Folk Exhibition includes an interesting variety of paintings, sculptures, toys, quilts and a few photographs.
 All artists were self-taught. Some of the works are anonymous: they had been abandoned or left behind on farms or on the streets, but they were rescued by people. Now they are preserved because of their beauty, artistic value and historical meaning.
  Let’s take a look at some of the captivating masterpieces.
Calvin Black (1903-1972) created a theatrical environment in the California desert. He delighted tourists with   wooden dolls, wind-driven and mechanical.

Ted Gordon, an artist from Kentucky, drew hundreds of portraits with simple curved lines. Through these lines he created these complex portraits.

I found the story of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein (1910-1983) fascinating. He was a simple man who  worked  at a bakery during the day. In his spare time, however, he was a passionate artist. During his lifetime he created thousands of works: paintings, sculptures and photographs.
 He also wrote poetry and recorded his thoughts on a variety of subjects.  What I find very inspiring about this artist’s devotion to art is that he was not attached to the outcome of his creative endeavors.  He just worked on them with fervor.
His ardent spirit vibrates in his masterpieces.
This photograph I took includes some of his sculptures and paintings. There is a whole section dedicated to Eugene Von Bruenchenhein at this exhibition.

 His work has been showcased in different museums in Chicago, New York city,  London and Venice. 
He noted that he believed his art was “ the result of unknown forces at work…forces that have gone on since the beginning.”
 If you want to learn more about this exhibition you can read this article or check the official website.
Have you been to any interesting exhibition lately?
 Talking about creative endeavors, I will take a break from blogging to finish writing a story.
 Enjoy the spring air - or the autumn air, depending on the hemisphere you live on...


  1. What interesting artists. I particularly liked the pictures of Ted Gordon, but all of the were appealing in one way or another.

    I loved the Mary Cassatt quote. I recently read an article that stressed the creative life is a healthy life. Seriously healthy. It does good things physiologically as well as spiritually.

    1. Elizabeth, I also love Ted Gordon's portraits.
      I was so fascinated that I stared at them for a long time... and somebody who was talking about the artworks to the visitors even stopped by to know if I had any questions about them.
      I love Mary Cassatt's quote too... and yes, the creative life is a healthy life.

  2. What a joy it is looking at other people's creations.

  3. That must have been interesting, especially knowing they were left behind in some old barn.What a joy it must be to find things so rich in primitive folklore.
    I thought you may be participating in the A-Z but enjoy your time off to finish your story.
    See ya later.

    1. Yes, not everything was left behind that way... but it was a captivating exhibition.
      All the artists were self-taught.

    2. I will be reading your A-Z challenge... no, I will not do it myself. I have enough challenges in my plate. Have fun, Manzi!

  4. Hello Julia:

    What a fascinating exhibition, and a very unusual one too. Sometimes, or so we feel, one derives more pleasure from the experience of visiting such a show as this one at the Milwaukee Art Museum than from some of the much larger, more grandly staged exhibitions.

    We wish you well for the completion of your story.

    1. It was a large exhibition. I was very impressed.

  5. Hi Julia .. I'd certainly like to see the exhibition .. as my eyes are getting more 'open' as I'm exposed to interesting subjects ..

    Good luck with finishing off your story .. happy writing .. cheers Hilary

    1. Thank you, Hilary.
      I'm off to read your post for today.

  6. There's a knitted garden on display locally that I'm looking forward to visiting.

    1. How interesting, Patsy.
      I hope you will share some pictures then!

  7. We visited a local gallery recently, hosted by local artists. Their work is done on site, with the artists available to talk. Awesome. Carlsbad, CA

  8. Ted's portraits are amazing. Self taught artists are brilliantly talented.

  9. Julia, wonderful post! I really like the idea of an exhibition of self-taught “uncommon folk.” Calvin Black was so original and imaginative. Loved that excerpt from “Possum Trot,” great theater! Ted Gordon is a master at creative doodling…of his own face!

    My favorite here is Eugene Von Bruenchenhein. The works he created in his spare time are amazing and I agree his story is fascinating. Clicking through to his page, I was immediately struck by Gallery: Summer Day on Venus, such vivid colors and energy. I liked every painting I saw on that site. Very interesting quote by him believing that his art was “the result of unknown forces at work…forces that have gone on since the beginning.” That quote reminds me of something I often say and believe, that there is a vast pool of creative ideas in the universe and when we are inspired to do something, be it artistic or scientific, we have tapped into the universal pool of ideas that have always existed and always will, and put our own stamp on it. Thank you for sharing this fantastic exhibition with us, and I love that quote by Mary Cassatt at the beginning.

    I wish you much success as you finish writing your story! Enjoy the spring air where you are as well. :)

    1. Thank you, sweet Jersey!
      I'm glad you enjoyed my post so much. There were many more fascinating artists at this exhibition but I didn't have enough battery so I could not take more pictures to share with you.
      I'm thrilled to know that these artworks touched you as well. The creative forces at work... his words resonate deeply with my own creative experience. I feel these forces stirring inside me and I can't rest in peace until I work on them.
      Thank you for your encouragement, Jersey.


I appreciate each and every comment. Thank you.