Wherein Sundry Artists Try On Henry Darger’s Shoes
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve curated a new exhibition entitled Realms of the Unreal, wherein sundry artists try on Henry Darger’s shoes. As the new works that the artists have created trickle in, I’ve been stunned by the talent and effort that will grace the walls of Gristle Art Gallery and Tattoo while this show is up.
Image at left: Little Lamb by Zoë Williams
A full gallery of images can be seen here. Please contact Gristle Gallery for purchases.
September 12, 7-9pm
@ Gristle Tattoo + Art Gallery
26 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Jeremy Hush | Front Line of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm
Michal Brodka, Steve Cleff, Jeff Faerber,Katelan Foisy, Christina Graf, Kurt Huggins,Seldon Hunt, Jeremy Hush, Max Kahan,Caitlin Karolczak, Robert Kraiza, Tun Myaing, Yuri Leonov, Amber Maykut, Caitlin McCormack, Julianna Menna, Michael Motorcycle, Buddy Nestor, Paul Romano,Matt Rota, Allison Sommers, Nicomi Nix Turner, Kurt Wandelmaier & Zoë Williams.
Here’s where this all came from:
Henry Darger is one of the most well known of outsider artists: those eccentrics who created art without the intention of creating Art. Darger created an epic story, The Realms of the Unreal, to make his own fantasy worlds come to life in a way that, to him, was visceral. He seemingly did this for himself, outside of the mainstream art establishment, rather than for the rest of the world to perceive.
Yuri Leonov | The Unreality
Darger’s childhood was peppered with abuse and neglect. He was a strange boy whose behavior (perhaps strange to those around him and perhaps less strange to others) attracted unwanted attention and abuse. One can assume that the emotional trauma he experienced led him to look inside for preferable situations, which he could control.
Creating his work mostly in seclusion for many years, his fantasy extraterrestrial world was a place where he could realize his ideals, and relive a happier childhood. It was a sanctuary where he could pretend to live a life where he was powerful, revered and important. It was a land not unlike Tolkien’s Middle Earth or C. S. Lewis’s Narnia, all vast and highly thought-out histories, complete with religion, magic, war and strange mystical beings.
Darger was like so many of us who experience a need to find our ideal world, where we control events, be they dramatic and chaotic, or perfect and tranquil. How many of us have dreamed of alternate realities for ourselves, or looked back in time to explore the ‘what-ifs’ of our lives? Would we have super powers or live on other planets? Every superhero comic or fantasy story embodies this desire to control the uncontrollable and fix the unfixable.
Kurt Wandermeier | Luminous Guardian
In this exhibition, Realms of the Unreal, titled after the name of Darger’s own grand story, I have invited a number of artists to reinterpret Darger’s fantasy in their own unique ways. Many have signature styles, which offer a brilliant counterpoint to Darger’s imagery, while others will find themselves fitting their creative bents neatly into Darger’s world. Included are artists whose works delve into linear and representational styles, as well as those who work in abstract and conceptual fashions.
The participating artists have been given a loose rein to explore any aspect of Darger’s work they wish. Undoubtedly, themes on view will include Darger’s fascination for young girls, his sexual orientation, battles from the Civil War, his protective Blengin creatures and his depictions of horrible violence. The various themes they choose to exhibit promise an intricate exploration of the mysteries behind Darger’s legacy.
Caitlin Karolczak | Vivian Girl Daisy
Caitlin McCormack | Bandolier (The_Protector)
Jeff Faerber | “In The Realms of the Unreal, innocence lives in the constant shadow of danger…”
Michal Brodka | Ex Libris