An Irresistible Urge to Create: Florida Outsider Art From the Monroe Family Collection

Bryant Gowens, Marker and glitter on wood, 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the Monroe Family Collection

Bryant Gowens, Marker and glitter on wood, 16 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the Monroe Family Collection

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During the last several decades, the work of the Outsider artists has come to the forefront of our thinking about the nature of art as their paintings and sculptures have made their way into fine art museums hanging alongside new and time-tested paintings and sculptures.

Gary Monroe’s collecting Outsider art was not intentional. “Things just came my way,” he says. “The artists were all interesting.  I became curious about the work, which was all so invigorating because of the makers’ freedom of expression and, of course, the visual resolve they found to express themselves. These works questioned assumptions of what art is, or what art can be. While they provoked, they delighted. Further, the artists possessed little, if any, concern with public acclaim, museum exhibitions, or the sales of their creations. Needless to say, they did not have artist’s reps or resumes. “

One thing led to another, and nearly a thousand pieces of art had been accumulated.  From the Monroe Family Collection, 86 works have been selected for this exhibition which will be accompanied with a publication that includes an essay by Gary Monroe, a discussion by Senior Curator Kathy Goncharov about the changing nomenclature of self-taught and folk artists, and a specially commissioned poem by Campbell McGrath about artists’ urge to create.