05 January 2016

“A child of six could do that.”

Is it curious that works classified as “primitive”, “naïve” or “folk art” , created by untrained hands or by artisans, rather than artists, are enjoying wide critical acclaim? No not really.

Great artworks generally share most of the following qualities:

-Originality of composition.

-Experimental use of materials.

-Bold and confident execution.

-An inherent narrative or pathos.

-The unique expression of the hand that created it.

So in a world where we often hear said “A child of six could do that” in relation to prized and sometimes highly priced abstract and contemporary artworks, perhaps we should consider more carefully what an “untrained” hand can and does create.

Great art is about a quality or an indefinable “spirit”, something that touches or moves us, something that speaks in a different, even more powerful way than words.

The market, particularly in the highly charged art collecting world, likes to have names, biographies, authorship, portfolios and catalogue raisonees, built up around its heroes, who were all once unknown.

Contemporary art demands more intuition, “eye” and courage than established works from further back in history. Critics and collectors need to be excited, inspired or moved by new new creations of unsung and as yet undiscovered “masters” and confident enough to back their own judgement as to what is worthwhile or exceptional.

In the endless search for originality in “art”, lines have become blurred. The pushing of boundaries and experiments with concepts have taken “art” into new realms and yet some institutions, critics and collectors are beginning to feel that maybe the “artist” does not necessarily have to have been trained by the art establishment or be part of a movement or moment, because their work can stand alone and speak for itself.

We believe that this is why eyes and interest are turning towards folk, “outsider”, primitive and naïve works, where singular individuality and powerful expression can frequently be found and exciting discoveries made. It is a place where human creativity has been left to breathe freely and allowed to flourish.



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