We went to a big Southern folk art show last weekend and saw so much amazing and inspirational art. The best part was that all the artists were there too, and you could meet them and buy art directly from them.
I love art shows and will go look at anything, but these days there seems to be a lot of cynical and depressing modern art out there. Folk art is just the opposite – it’s innocent and much of it is hopeful and uplifting. Some of it is hilarious, and the sad works are poignant and moving rather than depressing.
Another name for folk art is “outsider” art – I’m not crazy about that term since it sounds kind of snobby. Self-taught or visionary art are better labels. One of my favorite museums in the world is the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore; it’s a branch of the Smithsonian that focuses on artists with vision and talent and inspiration, but no formal art training.
The Southern show had so much beautiful and/or funky art that I wanted to buy. I walked around the whole show twice trying to decide what I loved the most, and I ended up buying two paintings from an artist named Eric Legge.
And of course, one of them is a church! Not a church in Venice – this looks more like a church in the mountains of NC where I grew up. It’s beautiful. I’d never seen any work by Eric before; he’s a very nice young man and I really enjoyed meeting him. So when I got home I googled and found an interview with him with this incredibly wise quote:
“I don’t paint to sell. I sell so that I can paint.”
I also bought this painting. It might end up being a Mother’s Day present for my mom (zinnias are her favorite flowers) but I might end up keeping it. I love it a lot too.