Monday, January 27, 2014

Visionary Arts

Do you ever have one of those times when you just want to get out of the house and do something different? Ward and I had one of those days this weekend. We needed a change of scenery, so on a whim, we visited the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore, MD. We had visited this museum a couple of times before and it is a favorite of ours.

Before my first visit, I didn't really understand what visionary art was. At first glance, it looked a little like folk art. But on second glance, was it something far different. Folk art is passed down from person to person, but visionary art comes totally from within the artist. It is more about the process of making the piece than about the finished product, and it comes from an emotional level. The artist usually has no formal training and often comes to creating their art later in life. At this point they have lived enough that they are less concerned about what people think and more concerned about their creation.

Whatever it is, I like it. The artists ranged from people who spent their life in mental institutions to a plantation child. There were paintings, sculptures, and mechanical pieces. Much of it was whimsical and some of it was disturbing.  As you can tell, it is really hard to categorize.

 The interesting thing for me on this trip was how I came alive in the OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) room. The artists in this room worked with very small detailed pieces (large match stick sculptures or lots of tiny dots). There was also a lot of symmetry in their pieces. I knew that I liked detail and symmetry, but I didn't realize how much. Ward's favorite part were the wooden moving toys. And much as we don't want to admit it, we both enjoy the section on flatulence.

A visit to the Visionary Arts Museum always gives me a new outlook on life. I look at things with a new found appreciation for their creation. And I always think that I want to create a visionary art room in my house. Everything has a story, I want to tell some of mine. Who knows? Maybe someday I will do just that.

Unfortunately, as with most museums, we couldn't take any pictures inside. I did snap a few on the outside while bracing against the cold wind. You can see a few of them below.