"Sensational" art by New Zealand artists in Belgium gallery
21 May 2012
Artwork by four New Zealand artists, described by curator Stuart Shepherd as a "sensational combination" is on show in an exhibition called Local Knowledge: Graphic Art from New Zealand at the MADmusée in Liège, Belgium until 9 September 2012.
Local Knowledge features drawings by self-taught artists Andrew Blythe (Auckland), Susan King (Auckland) and Martin Thompson (Dunedin), and paintings by Jim Dornan (late of Wairoa).
A Wellington artist, curator and academic, Stuart Shepherd has been invited to Liège by the museum and local university to speak about the artists and self-taught art in New Zealand in September.
“I’m really excited by the potential of this exhibition to position these New Zealand artists alongside the rich historic lineage of European art brut,” Stuart says. “Hopefully, this will help build a wider and deeper appreciation of the field of self-taught art back in New Zealand.
“The museum’s director, Pierre Muylle, has invited the artists to have their work included in its archive so it will be available for study and for access to guest curators, as well as for potential future exhibitions in Europe and North America.”
The MADmusée presents the work of artists who have experience of mental illness in a contemporary and international context. Established ten years ago, the museum and gallery is part of a network of similar museums and university galleries in Europe that specialise in the work of self-taught artists.
Stuart also curated Arts Access Aotearoa’s national exhibition, Make/Believe, held at the Bowen House Exhibition Space in Wellington in 2011 and featuring artwork by artists who work from creative spaces.
Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa describes Stuart as “the leading advocate” for self-taught artists in New Zealand. “This opportunity in Belgium is a result of Stuart’s consistent work over many years in building international networks and providing opportunities for New Zealand’s self-taught artists.”
Stuart has been promoting self-taught art since he attended the 1991 New York Outsider Art Fair. In 2009, he hosted a New Zealand booth at the Art Fair representing the work of a dozen artists. Most of them sold work or had their work picked up by international galleries or museums. He returned to the fair in 2011 with four New Zealand artists, including Andrew Blythe and Martin Thompson.