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david slader
art letter | no. 2. 2020 | February
That pretty much sums up my goal making art—and the reason so much ends up erased. Not just by me. Many artists destroy more work than they keep. When the English artist Francis Bacon died, his studio contained over 100 canvases he had slashed with a knife. Why? My guess is that they bored him.

Beyond Insider Art

What art doesn’t bore? For me, it is work that comes direct from an artist’s gut. Here is one example, in this case, a group effort:
Portland Art and Learning Studios - PALS, painting 1
I saw the top of this painting poking above an office desk at the Portland Art and Learning Studios (PALS) on NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. PALS is a program of Albertina Kerr and provides art space, tools and supplies for men and women who, for various neurological reasons, relate to the world in a distinctive way.

I was there, with two other members of Gallery 114, to select work for a show at the gallery. I asked to see the painting and offered to buy it on the spot. Until I take it home with me, it is in the gallery’s February show, Ebullience, and is one of many powerful pieces on exhibit that were created by the artists of PALS. 

Like a Warm Hand

Here is another group effort from the show, this one by PALS artists Judy Nuding, Brian Beckham, Alister Bond, Jamond Williams, and Steven Jean-Marie:
Portland Art and Learning Studios, PALS - painting 2
Work of this kind is often called “Outsider” art. In her insightful article about the PALS program and the Ebullience show, Friderike Heuer from Oregon Arts Watch expressed her dislike of the term, as it defines the artists as “others.”
I get Friderike’s point. But art by prison inmates, psychiatric patients, and other intuitive, untrained “raw” artists can be “outside” in the best sense of the term. Art from “inside” the traditional art world often has, to my eye, too much “head,” too much intention, too much cultural restraint. Whatever we call it, art from outside those boundaries is often more liberating of the spirit—as this show wonderfully illustrates.
As I look at the work of these artists, I think of this line from Brian Doyle’s 2008 piece in Orion Magazine, where he imagines how “The Greatest Nature Essay Ever” would end:
“Oddly, sweetly . . . with a feeling eerily like a warm hand
brushed against your cheek, and you sit there, near tears,
smiling, and then you stand up.
See Ebullience at Gallery 114 through February 2020.
For more information, visit
Art is where we
find ourselves
by losing ourselves
Learn more about my art
Learn more about Gallery 114
Artist member of Gallery 114 Portland Oregon
Copyright © 2020 David Slader artist, All rights reserved.

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