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DESCRIBING FOLK ART

The term "folk art" encompasses a wide range of paintings, sculptures, and environments created by individuals who did not study art formally or systematically.

To describe particular types or categories of folk art, a number of terms are commonly used.

OUTSIDER ART. Work that is highly personal and not derived from communal traditions. The term "Outsider Art" was first used by Roger Cardinal, a British art critic, as the English equivalent of Jean Dubuffet's French term, "Art Brut", used (in Europe) primarily to describe the art of the insane.

In the United States the phrase has a broader meaning. Collectors use it as a distinction from more traditional or "sweeter" folk art, such as memory painting. Thus, institutionalized artists, such as Martin Ramirez, are categorized as "outsider artists". But others, among them Henry Darger, Joseph Yoakum, and Purvis Young, whose work is represented by Joy Moos Gallery, are also placed in this category.

Some use the term as a catchall to describe idiosyncratic art not based on tradition.

MEMORY PAINTING. A style of painting that depicts disappearing life-styles. The scenes are often peaceful ones of rural America before the advent of complex farm machinery. Among the best known is Grandma Moses. Barbara Clark-Fleming is an accomplished artist of this type who is represented by Joy Moos Gallery.

VISIONARY ART. Art that is often religious in theme and is frequently based on dreams, visions, or voices. Religious messages may accompany a work. Among the better-known artists often termed visionary are Minnie Evans, Sister Gertrude Morgan, and Howard Finster. Visionary art is also used in a broader sense to denote works by folk artists with a unique vision.

Norbert Kox and Lori Jaie Reich are visionary artists represented by Joy Moos Gallery.

PRIMITIVE ART. “Of or relating to the work of an artist from a nonindustrial, often tribal culture” – American Heritage Dictionary

The art of primitive peoples in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

Credit: Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century American Folk Art and Artists.
By Chuck and Jan Rosenak, 1990 Abbeville Press


Folk Art Artists



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