Apr 20 Thu 6-8pm Self Taught Art from Latin America and the Caribbean Sidney Mishkin Gallery Baruch College 135 East 22 St (Apr 21-May 13)

Exquisitely unschooled
The Mishkin Gallery of Baruch adds to its list of unusual shows by hanging some small but often dazzling works by supposedly primitive artists from Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela, who have escaped the influence of schooling to express what is entirely their own personal and original vision, collected with discrimination over four decades by Aldemaro and Ana Romero, and it is so good, even excellent in basic ways to do with color juxtaposition, intensity and simplicity of vision that it raises the question whether untutored talent pegged below genius may not be better served sometimes by avoiding the imposition of the boundaries of conventional instruction in art and its possibilities on the visual creativity of talented students that may not be psychologically equipped to completely escape its restraining influence, unlike those who are so bursting with genius that their impulses cannot be gainsayed even while they are students, offering the possibility of self fulfilling liberation that seems to be part of the Zeitgeist in many fields of endeavor nowadays.

Quinto M., Venezuela
Simon Bolivar, c1980s
Sculpture in wood, 16 x 15
Collection of Aldemaro and Ana Romero
Photo Credit: Steven Tucker

The Sidney Mishkin Gallery

Self-Taught Art from Latin America and the Caribbean:
The Aldemaro and Ana Romero Collection

April 21 – May 19, 2017

The Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College will present the exhibition, Self-Taught Art from Latin America and the Caribbean: The Aldemaro and Ana Romero Collection, from Friday, April 21 to Friday May 19, 2017. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, April 20, from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

This exhibition features a variety of paintings and sculptures that were created by artists who lack professional education and training. Among the major characteristics of this art are simplicity, repetition, a geometrically erroneous sense of perspective, and the use of brilliant, saturated colors.

A small sculpture of Simon Bolivar, by Quinto M., is simplified in form, but depicted with a colorful uniform and a sword to emphasize his heroic role as the leader who established Venezuelan independence.

In a jungle scene, Haitian artist E. Marime painted every leaf individually, repeating its shape rather than creating clusters of foliage. The intensely colored jungle animals and plants appear stacked in space, without a traditional use of perspective.

Although it is sometimes confused with folk art, self-taught art usually lacks a clear cultural context, and it is often hard to identify by its geographic origin. Some self-taught artists are well-known including the French painter Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), who was discovered by Pablo Picasso. Now, it is possible for these unknown artists to become part of the art historical canon, as self-taught art has become very popular with colleges and museums.

Aldemaro and Ana Romero are avid collectors of self-taught art, who have traveled throughout Latin America. Their collection contains more than 50 paintings, sculptures, and examples of other crafts. The materials used in these artworks are diverse, and include oil paint on canvas, lithography, papier-mache, bark, and wood. The Romero collection spans more than four decades, from the 1970s to the present, and it represents many countries: Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela.

This exhibition was made possible by Hedwig Feit, in honor of her mother, Sylvia Lizana Y Parrague. Funding was generously provided by the Schindler-Lizana Fund for Latin American Arts & Cultures at Baruch.

E. Marime, Haiti
Untitled, c. 1980s
Oil on canvas, 35 x 46”
Collection of Aldemaro and Ana Romero
Photo credit: Steven Tucker

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