Julia and Isaiah were away in Kansas last week, working on a commissioned mural with help from the community of Topeka. As Julia notes, “In five days, thirty people finished a 110 foot mural in the Noto Arts Section of Topeka, Kansas. Everyone worked hard and dreamed of projects they wanted to do in schools, churches and homes.” The folks there were very inspired by Isaiah’s particular brand of visionary art. And Julia and Isaiah were, in turn, inspired by the artists that they met.
Kansas, it turns out, is home to a thriving community of people devoted to advancing the causes of visionary artists. Visionary art, also known as self-taught, grass-roots, or outsider art, is a loose term used to describe art that is produced outside the academic structure of fine art. Generally these artists are self-taught, without formal training. Often driven by a vision, artists may work for many years creating objects and environments which are meant to be viewed as a whole or in close relation to the rest of the work.
Eye’s Gallery is excited to begin a new venture of showcasing works of visionary or outsider art. Cousin to our specialty of folk art, visionary art differs not necessarily in materials and methods, but in conception. While folk artists build on identifiable traditions that have been passed from generation to generation, visionary art results from intensely personal acts of creation.
Our interest in this type of art has long been percolating, and we are excited to begin this new endeavor with the work of Mri (pronounced “Marie”) Pilar, a grassroots artist from Lucas, Kansas. Mri-Pilar works with recycled materials to create works that are often doll themed, manifesting in doll sculptures, dioramas, and other objects. Our current collection includes several of these pieces, as well as four beautiful necklaces made with vintage and found fabrics, beads, ribbon, wire, yarn.