WOOFISM and beyond

Category: Outsider Art

Studio Diary Day 2: Drawing or painting?

Spent the afternoon in a not too cold studio (it has basic radiators thankfully) as starting to come out of over two weeks of severe chest infection. After looking at the neo-primitives below I thought I’d try black acrylic paint straight to canvas and compare it with other methods. Pencil and chalk, paint this was because I forgot to take some Sharpie pens to the studio. So I could theoretically call this an experimental artefact led methodology although I can only gain ‘qualitative data’. I have posted on facebook so be interesting to see what reaction I get.

I was vaguely thnking of the kind of memory painting Arshile Gorky did (most of his major works refer however subliminally back to his Armenian childhood) but after I’d finished the last piece I realised that today’s news about Hurricane Sandy and the associated imagery had leaked into my sub-conscious. I therefore named the drawing ‘Sandy’.

The smaller image in the gallery of two ‘badges’ is from 1987 and were a couple of examples of laminated drawings that I sold in aid of Greenpeace at my show that year in Hornsey Library. Proving that nothing changes and I was doing Burgerman before he was knee high 🙂

Looking closer other influences which I can see in the drawings include Leger, Mariscal, and Miro all major influences on my late eighties work so it feels like I have somehow carried on from a point then of semi-abstraction before I went more figurative and lost some of my spontaneity. I picked up a book from my library at studio called ‘Arshille Gorky: The Breakthrough Years. Which I will examine along with my present reading. I was heavily influenced by a book I subsequently lost by Harry Rand called Arshile Gorky: the implications of symbols ( I have now found it as paperback on amazon although out of print). The Gorky fascination is not so much in his application of paint but far more the way he created ‘memory symbols’ analogous to Miro. These repetitive symbols came from his childhood. I repeat similar motifs from my past almost like an alphabet and maybe analysing where this came from would be productive. In fact at one point I did try to make a pictorial alphabet of simple symbols. I will try and find the examples I drew. We then stray into both semiotic and literary territory. I will leave the deeper examination of this to the research pages.



Freddie Brice

I cut and paste the press release information here as I came across this man’s work by chance. Immediately reminded me of Guston, Matisse and Alfred Wallis in use of foreshortening. It also reminded me of one of the main influences on the Suit of Nettles which people didn’t pick up on i.e. Southern States Folk and Outsider Art especially Bill Traylor

March 27 – May 1, 2010

KS Art is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Freddie Brice (1920-1998). This is the first solo exhibition in ten years of this recognized outsider artist who lived and worked in New York City. Freddie Brice’s plywood panels are painted in mainly black and white with an urban minimalism and immediacy. Depicting animals, interiors, clocks, watches and jewelry, they reduce complex forms and groupings to their graphic essence, interchanging black and white and positive and negative. As contemporary artists continue to look at outsider art for inspiration Brice’s raw painting style finds a renewed relevance in the work of painters such as Joe Bradley, Chris Martin and Donald Baechler.

Also included in the exhibition is a newly restored video of the artist at work, “Freddie Brice Paints Two Paintings”, made in 1990 by Les LeVeque & Kerry Schuss. In this video, Brice completes two paintings. While demonstrating his rhythmic painting style, he sings and speaks in a poetic verse about painting, hobbies and life.

“It’s in my way of drawin’. It’s in my conscious of drawin’. It’s in my mind. It became to be lovely to me. It became to be likely to me. Why, I like it more than I like anything else. I think it’s a hobby. You know, speaking about a hobby. A hobby is a true thing … When you begin to love something; when you begin to do something, a constructive, something that you like and love, it becomes a hobby. It becomes regular. It becomes continuously. It becomes outrageous. It becomes magnificent. It becomes to be something that you like to do for a hobby. And I like to do drawing for a hobby. I like to do drawing because I get understanding of what I’m doing. It gives me understanding of talking. It gives me understanding of books. It gives me understanding of drawing and hearing what I listen to. It gives me time, it gives me patience and it also gives me ability. Ability is when you gain what you’re doing, and when you get enough of it you begin to have rehability rehabiliteality of what you’re doing. It becomes a whole lot to you. Drawing is rehabiliteality to me. I began to do it often and I began to do it much. And it’s ability. It’s rehabiliteality of what I love. And it’s a hobby. –excerpt from video

Freddie Brice was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1920, and at age 9 moved to Harlem, where later he spent much of his time at the Apollo Theater, a fan of acts such as: Diana Washington, Chuck Webb and the Inkspots to name a few. Brice held numerous jobs including an elevator operator, a laundry worker and most importantly at the Brooklyn Navy Shipyard, where he painted ships. After a long history of incarceration and institutionalization he started making paintings in 1983 at an art workshop on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. In 1991 Brice’s work was featured in the exhibition “Art’s Mouth” at Artists Space curated by Connie Butler. Freddie Brice’s work is in the collections of: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Milwaukee Museum of Art and The Old Dominion University, Gordon Collection, Norfolk, Virginia. Additionally Brice’s work has been exhibited at The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Williamsburg, VA and Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee WI. He died in New York in 1998