Passionate Voices and Spiritual Universes is the Healing Arts Initiative’s (HAI) fifth show at the NYC Outsider Art Fair. Ten artists are represented in this year’s show, Martha Haddock-Cruz, Melvin Way, Laura Anne Walker, Jose Lopez, Jorge Hernandez, Angela Rogers, Jeanie Meruki, Derrick Coard, Lady Montague, and Irene Phillips. While each is unique in their vision, they share a compulsive passion for art making and all nourish their spirit through art.
Passion and spirit are consistent threads that connect the work of early twentieth century Outsider artists to the current self-taught artists living with severe mental health issues. Martha Haddock-Cruz keeps in touch with her faith through motivational self-help books which she adorns with her own characterizations for hope, love and healing. Melvin Way creates formulas that he believes can materialize into a powerful reality. Laura Anne Walker reveals her chaotic and traumatic experiences with ink & paper as a force to steady her day-to-day life. Jose Lopez embellishes found paper with interconnecting ballpoint pen drawings. They narrate his struggle from prison & homelessness to a man with confidence and resolve. Jorge Hernandez pictures idealistic cities where everything is run on natural sources of magnetism, so everyone can live in harmony and perfection. Angela Rogers pictures imaginary spiritual beings that shape the hidden aspects of her personal world. Mute in the latter stages of her life, Jeanie Meruki populates the places she draws with only young and beautiful versions of herself. Derrick Alexis Coard draws black males as approachable and open men, inviting the viewer into deep and meaningful conversation. Lady Montague’s art is filled with playful acts that recreate the Moulin Rouge where she claims to have spent her childhood performing. Passion is visible in the bold shapes of color and line from Irene Phillips, and in her high volume of output. Irene's spirit is evident in her ability to connect with animals and people from different places and times; their faces are made life size and she speaks to them as she works.
Curator & artist-in-residence Francis Palazzolo organized this show from HAI’s vast contemporary Outsider art collection which began in the late 1970's. The archive continues to grow adding active artists to the essential core group. This year's show introduces Jorge Hernandez, who recently joined the HAI Art Studio.
HAI’s contemporary Outsider art collection has been the subject of numerous shows and the focus of many articles. The work from these internationally recognized artists were exhibited at the Rockefeller Folk Art Center, White Columns, Museum of Everything, American Psychological Association, Lesley University, The Noyes Museum of Art, and the Parsons School of Design as well as several commercial galleries such as the Luise Ross Gallery. These artists have been featured in Art Forum, Raw Vision, Flying Free: Twentieth Century Self-Taught Art from the Collection of Ellin and Baron Gordon, and in the book Art Centers by Betty-Carol Sellen to list several publications.
Contributing Artists: Melvin Way, Angela Rogers, Jose Lopez, Martha Haddock-Cruz, Lady Montague, Derrick Coard, Laura Anne Walker, Jorge Hernandez, Jeanie Meruki & Irene Phillips