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On Things Personal and Small
Today is a gray rainy day, a stay at home day. We have just returned from three weeks in Mexico. One thing you see a lot of there is folk art. It comes in garish and festive colors and represents almost anything you can wrap your mind around. So as I sit here thinking about our time away, I am thinking of folk art. We have a few pieces. I have decided to share them with you.
A friend of mine from high school days, Leslie Muth, used to have a gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She introduced me to Outsider Art, art produced by untrained artists, often projecting a very personal vision.
This is Hell’s Angel produced by Ronald Cooper in 1993. I don’t know Mr. Cooper, who lives with his wife, Jesse, in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, but I suspect he has some issues.
This next piece, the Cowboy on Horseback was made in 1992 by C. Cooper, Ronald’s uncle. It is obviously more refined and less confrontational.
And then there is this little fellow by Sultan Rogers. You can see Sultan Rogers’ work in the Smithsonian Museum. I have seen it in a show in Paris.
Leslie told me that Mr. Rogers would periodically turn up with a pickup truck full of the little carvings, fantastic and interesting works. He would not sell a few pieces. She had to buy the load or nothing and for cash.
These two bulls were made by the Navaho Indians in the Four Corners Area. When winter sets in the men are house bound. Creating the small sculptures gives them an occupation and a means of securing income.
We also have a few works based on religion. First are our angels from Mexico. We have three.
We were told three is the appropriate number. One is too singular. Two is bad luck. Three is the right number.
And then we have the Priest and the Devil.
The Priest comes from Guatamala. I picked it up in a junk shop outside of Santa Fe. The thumbs are broken off and I have been told that is common with the antique figurines. It is sort of a means of decommissioning the piece.
The Devil comes from Mexico. I don’t know if there is anything special about it. I just know I think he is great.
One year I was with Jeanette in a clothing boutique when I saw this fellow. He was part of the display covered with scarfs and necklaces. Hmmm! I liked him too, so now he inhabits our dining room.
And finally, what presentation of folk art would be complete without
the quintessential gift to North America.
More to come
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