Love is a Stranger

Creative Growth Art Center announces its upcoming exhibition Love is A Stranger, a project conceived by writer and curator Leigh Markopoulos. Love is A Stranger features artwork that explores sublimated desire by an international group of artists including many currently working in the Creative Growth studio.

Love is A Stranger features works by an international group of renowned outsider artists, many of whom are being seen on the West Coast for the first time—Margit Madsen, Johann Korec, Malcolm Mckesson, Karl Vondal, and Anna Zemankova. Including Creative Growth artists: Juan Aguilera, Sherrie Aradanas, Cedric Johnson, Dwight Mackintosh, Charles Nagle, Aurie Ramirez, Kartika Reddy, and Ron Veasey.

The exhibition focuses on graphic and sculptural expressions of sublimated or suppressed desire and the artworks range from the delicately erotic fantasy-blooms of Czech artist Anna Zemankova (1908–1988), to the cool, haunting, bondage-related scenarios of Malcolm McKesson (New York, 1909–1999), and the exuberant mint-green and pink pop-couplings of Creative Growth’s Aurie Ramirez.

More often coded rather than explicit, and suggestive rather than documentary, even overt representations of sexuality, such as in the work of Karl Vondal (b. 1953, Austria), retain a certain wistful naivety. Often ambiguous images are paired with hand-written texts, as in the works of both Johann Korec (Austria, 1937–2008) and Dwight McKintosh (Creative Growth artist, 1906–1999), sometimes the narratives dictate how the images are to be perceived at others they are more poetic or rhythmic, adding dynamism to the compositions. The human body is celebrated and explored in the fairly realistic figures in the work of Danish artist Margit “Gitte” Madsen whose work pays tribute to renowned Danish artist Michael Kvium. Interestingly, the sculptural works included are more abstract in their intentions, deriving their eroticism often from the repetitive, tactile nature of their construction and their forms, as is evident in Charles Nagle’s coil pots.

Guest curator Markopoulos notes, “the subject of eroticism in outsider art has remained largely unexplored, which while not surprising does feel like something of a missed opportunity given the wealth of material and imagery. My thinking about this exhibition began with Malcolm McKesson’s extraordinarily beautiful and melancholy drawings, and quickly expanded to encompass a range of expression and media. Made as expressions of intensely personal fantasies or yearnings, the point is not to shock, but rather to show the diverse forms that love can take.”

Also: The launch of new clothing from the Fall/Winter 2010 line of Creative Growth for Everybody, available on site, in the Creative Growth shop.

July 15 through September 23, 2010 – Opening party August 12, 5:00-8:00pm

ALSO OPEN SATURDAY August 15th from 11:00am to 4:00pm