“Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk” is more than a clever title for this mix of carved walking sticks, figural ceramics and folk art, but also a philosophy of collecting with courage—of not playing it too safe and embracing outliers. It is finding examples of a genre that push boundaries and surprise us, yet still overlap its predecessors—objects that break preconceived notions and move the line forward.
The title of this collection comes from the lyric in, The Byrds’ song, “Eight Miles High.” This ripe phrase evokes a range of fantastic imagery; uninhibited children, tiny heads, unencumbered puppets and marvelous dismemberment to name a few things that popped into my head.
Rather than discovering hidden faces or seeing them in inanimate objects (pareidolia), we focused on indelible visages—stark, psychological and philosophical—existential and mythological, some animal, some mysterious and some absurd.
This special collection explores examples of folk art that excompass these loose parameters. Some are straightforward, for example, The woman "Laundress" covers "Woman," (though, admittedly, in this context of broad labeling, it comes off as a one dimentional and misogynistic). Other examples overlap, the cover image of the African-American limberjack, considers "Man," but is so powerful that it is imbued with, "Spirit" as well. The Woodlands, Ojibwa Mide'wiwin Figures covers, "Man, Woman and Spirit." The brownstone sculpture, "Men of the Pale Forest," explores "Man," but has elements of "Spirit and Beast." While the carved Gizzly Bear obviously represents, "Beast," its sensitive carving and remarkable surface gives her a "Spirit" as well.
Featuring the works of Joseph Roth, a schizophrenic patient at the Central Islip Psychiatric Center, NY, 1905. At least eleven works by Roth have been identified, ranging in date from 1905-1921. The earlier ones while he was in Central Islip and then later when he was a patient at the Binghamton State Hospital. Roth and these works are an important addition to the canon and study of American Outsider Art.
In addition to these exciting works, we have a number of works from the esteemed Marvill collection of American Folk Art. We are also pleased to represent a few works by the Pennsylvania painters, John David Wissler and William Kocher.