Vestiges & Verses: American Folk Art Museum

January 28, 2018

         One of the collages by Richard Saholt

 

Vestiges & Verses: Notes from the newfangled epic is an exhibition of self-discovery, a journey of self-reflection and an entitlement of self-illuminating. The works presented in the exhibition are remarkably astonishing. Each of the twenty-one self-taught artist has a distinct persona that narrates a certain agenda or showcasing their thread of collective ephemera. These artist uses way beyond their imagination as a cursor to their work, presented in a intricate and nonlinear narrative way, these artist uses interesting forms and techniques of narration that could subconsciously bring you to their space that they intent to, allowing you to explore into their personal territory of wild imagination or unchartered history.

 

What strikes me the most was the way these artist spoke their everyday nuance in mediums that are compelling. Their unconventional method yet presented in utmost resplendent way was really profound for me personally. Richard Saholt was one such artist that manage to grapple with so much intensity that it made me rooted to the ground for mins on end. His prolific history back dated when he was a veteran in the military. A survivor in the world war II, he went through innumerable accounts of traumatic past that it stayed with him till today. Leaving the Army unscathed physically, he however only discovered that he had chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia, years after being scarred emotionally in the Army. The incompetency  of the veteran hospital military doctors that made countless denials of his condition, numerous deception, compounded with refusal to award his disability benefits by the organisation infuriated him and evoked his desire to speak his mind which resulted in his journey into art-making and opened up a pandora of a creative mind.

 

It was interesting to see how he uses collages which he attempted inventively, repurposing books and combining images with undeniably great depth to details, composition and colour. Each images echoed his inner voice that was oppressed and suffering. From his collages, it was inevitable to look at each of the element, it felt as though there was a conversation between the work and the viewer, this process however gave a bone chilling experience. 

         One of the many amazing works by Adolf Wolfili

 

Adolf Wolfili visual works are like an epiphany of devotement to a certain higher order which has two ends of the spectrum characteristics of a kindred spirit to a ludicrous psychopath. His fascination with numbers, written words and past history contributed to his vehement imagination and can be seen in his enthralling composition. Adolf Wolfili strong minded character plays a huge role is his journey as an artist. During his era in the 1900s, written and spoken words are well regarded for the high society, he however, was struggling with finding words on his own. His ignorant nature gave him attention by the public when he mixes different ways of writing to his works.

 

Despite this unforgiving method of writing, it personifies his work marrying imaginary biography in prose, poems and drawings. One still wonder till today his music inclination towards his work. The music notes seen in most of his works, much like his way of writing, is unfathomable. 

 

Vestiges & Verses is a celebration of self-taught artist whom we should highly regard for their creativity and well crafted artwork. There is a lot that we can learn from this exhibition, the unruly minds and traumatic past of some of these artist in particular are intriguing and showed their genuine desire to have their voices heard.  

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