The Bascom: A Center for the Visual Arts

323 Franklin Road
Highlands , NC 28741
United States



Lands Beyond: Otherworldly Landscapes and Visionary Topographies

Saturday, June 6, 2015
Sunday, August 30, 2015

Curated by Tom Patterson. On view June 6, 2015- August 30, 2015 in the Loft Gallery, Upper Level, at the Bascom Center for Visual Arts, Highlands, NC.

While Tom Patterson is best known for his curatorial work and publications on self-taught artists, "Lands Beyond" mixes the work of academically trained artists such as Brian Mashburn and Scott Eagle with autodidacts such as William Fields and the late Anthony Dominguez, the only artist in the exhibition who is no longer living and actively producing work. Patterson’s first foray into mixing self-taught and academic art was "High on Life," his 2002-2003 show at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Given that in the post-Internet era, a clear demarcation between the contemporary art world and that of the “Outsider” artist no longer exists, the common thread in these artists’ work is what one might call a Visionary sensibility: vivid, dream-like portrayals of complex other-worlds, and a strong, lingering presence of the hand of the artist, which allows the viewer to vicariously experience the mark-making process. Patterson gives his take on what constitutes Visionary art: “The word ‘visionary’ doesn’t speak to an artist’s formal training or lack thereof. That’s the way I see it. I don’t really care about the training issue, one way or another. It’s all about the art for me. And the artist.”
Patterson writes about some of the individual artists in the show: “The late Anthony Dominguez focused his visionary perception on New York City’s unique particulars and its hidden zones, where he spent over 20 years intentionally homeless.

“Primeval landscapes, fanciful architecture and gargoylish figures in confrontational poses stand out against glowing, turbulent skies in the work of Maura Holden. Her meticulous, psychedelic paintings create a profound sense of the uncanny.

“There are striking formal and procedural similarities between J.J. Cromer’s intuitive-improvisational work and that of comedic voice actor-visual artist George Lowe (aka Space Ghost, the animated host of the eponymous 1990s absurdist late-night talk show on the Cartoon Network), although Lowe’s mixed-media drawings are more loosely rendered and tinged with humor.”

Winston Salem’s William Fields, one of the most prominent living Southern Visionary artists, contributed three major works to the show including the alchemy-themed Azoth, which is accompanied by an electronic tone poem of the same name by Salem College classical guitar instructor and composer Samuel Allen Taylor.

Writer and independent curator Tom Patterson has long been a champion for visionary and self-taught art of the Southeast. Patterson’s first curatorial project, a 20-artist show titled “Southern Visionary Folk Artists” (co-curated with Roger Manley) opened in early 1985 at R.J. Reynolds Gallery in Winston-Salem, NC, and featured the work of now-legendary artists such as the Reverend Howard Finster, Sam Doyle, St. EOM, Georgia Blizzard, and Raymond Coins. While working on “Southern Visionary Folk Artists,” Patterson moved to Winston-Salem to join forces with Jonathan Williams for the Jargon Society’s Southern Visionary Folk Art Project, a three-year effort to document examples of this non-academic art. (The Jargon Society was Williams’ small press, initially operated from Black Mountain College in the 1950s.) Patterson’s first two books were among his many projects under Jargon’s auspices, "St. EOM in The Land of Pasaquan" (Jargon Society, 1987) and the now-collectible "Howard Finster: Stranger from Another World," (Abbeville Press, 1989).