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The image pictured above, Respect the Order, was fashioned by the Jamaican American artist Mark Anthony Hill with acrylic on canvas. It remains on view in his solo exhibition at One Art Space in Tribeca until January 6 . Following are several more faces in a variety of styles and media seen this past year in a range of settings:

Havana, Cuba-based self-taught artist Hector Frank Heredia, “Untitled,” Mixed media — as seen last March at Art on Paper in Lower Manhattan

Self-taught multidisciplinary artist John Tursi — as seen at the Living Museum in Queens Village

Largely self-taught Japanese artist Akito Nara, “Soul Meeting,” Acrylic and oil pastel on canvas — as seen last March in his solo exhibition at Ethan Cohen Gallery in Chelsea, NYC

Brooklyn-based self-taught artist Marcus Jahmal, “Mirror 4,” Watercolor on paper — as seen in “100 Drawings from Now” at the (now temporarily closed) Drawing Center in Soho, NYC

Self-taught Oregon-based artist Anne Marie Grgich, “Target,” Mixed media — as seen last January at the Outsider Art Fair in Chelsea, NYC

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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Born in the Dominican Republic and based in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, self-taught artist Bony Ramirez fashions entrancing, dramatic works that celebrate his rich Caribbean culture and reflect on his native country’s traumatic history.

On view through Sunday at Thierry Goldberg Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is MUSA X PARADISIACA, Bony Ramirez’s first in-person solo exhibition with the gallery.

The bold, mesmerizing image featured above — Es Colmado, No Bodega — typifies that artist’s distinct aesthetic of fusing paintings and drawings by adhering life-size paper figures onto painted wood panels. And, as in all of of his works, the character’s limbs are distorted.

Several more images from this riveting exhibition follow:

“El Tiguerazo!,” 2020, Acrylic, colored pencil, oil pastel, oil stick, paper on wood panel

Carnaval,” 2020, Acrylic, colored pencil, oil pastel, paper on wood panel

Caribaby: The Sea Shells,” 2020, Apoxie clay, tin foil, Styrofoam, resin doll eyes, aluminum armature, velvet fabric, polyester fiberfill, synthetic hair, polymer clay, acrylic, oil pastel, sea shells

Segment of installation on the gallery’s lower level(L to R)Dónde Están Los Limóncillos?,” 2020, Acrylic, colored pencil, oil stick, oil pastel, paper on wood panel; “The Columbus Lighthouse,” 2020, Apoxie clay, tin foil, Syrofoam, resin doll eyes, aluminum armature, crushed velvet fabric, polyester fiberfill, synthetic hair, acrylic, oil pastel; metal sword, zinc tow chain, acrylic, on wood panel and “No Fue El Final/ It Was Not The End,” 2020
acrylic, colored pencil, oil pastel, wallpaper, paper on wood panel

Musa X Paradisiaca,” 2020, Acrylic, colored pencil, oil pastel, wallpaper, paper on wood panel

Located at 109 Norfolk Street, Thierry Goldberg Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10-6pm. Walk-ins are welcome.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky

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Born to Salvadorian immigrants in Newark, New Jersey, John Rivas creates distinctly authentic artwork, reflecting his dual identity.

Working with a range of media, from sundry objects found in his home to traditional art school materials, Rivas has developed an expressive, raw aesthetic that provides the viewer with insight into not only the artist’s life, but, also, into the Latinix immigrant experience.

Often inspired by family photos and stories, his mixed media paintings – with their captivating detailed references — are an ode to his family and to his heritage. His current exhibition, Las Voces Inside of Me, at Latchkey Gallery, takes the viewer on a journey into the artist’s world, as he — now an MFA candidate at Columbia University — navigates disparate cultures and realities.

The image pictured above, La Sopa es Para La Goma, fashioned with mixed media on canvas, depicts his family sitting around the kitchen table — their elongated hands and feet suggesting a personal history of farmers, laborers and construction workers. Several more images from the exhibit follow:

“Para Siempre,” Mixed media on canvas

“La Ruta 21,” Mixed media on canvas

Jesus,” Mixed media on material

Installation featuring a hammock and griddle with tortillas set on pebbled ground, reminiscent of his family’s life in El Salvador

The exhibition remains open through this week at Latchkey, a nomadic contemporary art gallery, currently housed at 323 Canal Street. You can schedule your visit here.

Special thanks to City-as-School student Jasper Shepard for contributing his photography skills, research and insights to this post.

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Born in Nicaragua and based in Miami, self-taught artist Farley Aguilar fashions figurative paintings based on found photographs that engage him. At once profoundly disturbing and strikingly alluring, Aguilar’s paintings question and challenge our roles and society’s norms.

On view through Sunday, December 13, at Lyles & King, a handsome gallery space in Manhattan’s Chinatown, are four new paintings that focus on trauma’s impact on the body. Marked by the artist’s signature X’s, expressive scrawls and swirls, the artworks exude an ominous, sinister otherworldly aura. Perfectly reflecting the anxiety of our times, the dubious nature of the crowd and our detachment from one another, these four paintings are distinctly haunting and relevant.

Featured above is “Accused Woman,” fashioned in 2020 with oil, oil stick and graphite on linen. The other three paintings on exhibit follow:

“Unknown Woman.” 2020, Oil, oil stick and graphite on linen

“Shorn Woman,” 2020, Oil, oil stick and graphite on linen

“Crippled Children,” 2020, Oil and pencil on linen

Located at 21 Catherine Street, Lyles & King is open Tuesday – Saturday: 11am – 6pm and Sunday: 12 – 6pm.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky

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The late self-taught artist Purvis Young began creating art in his largely African-American Miami neighborhood of Overtown in the 1960’s. Working with discarded materials he found on the streets and in abandoned buildings, he forged a riveting, seductive array of mixed-media works reflecting his particular sensibility and his community’s circumstances.

Currently on view at James Fuentes Gallery on the Lower East Side is a selection of artworks — fusing the spiritual and political, while suggesting yearning, struggle, prayer and acceptance.

In the untitled mixed-media work featured above the floating eyes likely represent the artist’s — and perhaps the world’s — guardians. Several more images on exhibit at James Fuentes Gallery follow:

Untitled, 1974, Oil on wood

Untitled, 1973, Paint on wood

Untitled, 1989, House paint on plywood

Untitled, 1992, Acrylic and house paint on wood

Untitled, 1974, Paint on wood

The exhibition continues at James Fuentes Gallery, 55 Delancey Street , through December 6. It is open Tuesday–Sunday, 10am–6pm.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky

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Born in Paraguay in 1962, the poetically distinct visual artist Feliciano Centurión settled in Argentina, where he became a key figure in Buenos Aires cultural circles in the early 1990’s. Identified with both folk art and queer aesthetics, he left a significant body of wondrous art at the time of his death from AIDS-related complications in 1996. On view at the Americas Society through this Friday is the first solo exhibition of his work — as it continues to garner admiration and attention — outside of Latin America.

The image featured above, Florece (Flourishes), was fashioned with embroidery and thread on natural and synthetic fibers. It is one of many of Feliciano Centurión‘s artworks generally associated with women’s aesthetics. Several more images — all created between 1990 and 1995 — on view at the Americas Society follow:

Tigres (Tigers), Acrylic on blanket

Lagartijas (Lizards), Acrylic on blanketone of the many images of subtropical animals painted onto blankets

Surubí, 1972, Acrylic and enamel on blanket

Estrella del Mar (Seastar), Embroidery on blanket and acrylic paint

Medusas (Jellyfish), Acrylic and crochet on blanket (L.); Pulpo Violeta (Purple Octopus), Acrylic on blanket and a selection of plastic toys with crochet

And on a somber note fashioned one year before the artist’s death:

Soy Alma en Pena (I Am a Soul in Pain), Embroidery on fabric

Curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, the exhibition continues at the Visual Arts Gallery of the Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue, through this week. You can book a time slot here for a visit Wednesday through Friday, 12 to 6 pm.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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It is difficult to perceive of our nation’s punitive prison system as an incubator for creativity and inventive aesthetic processes. But for some prisoners it has become just that. Creating art is their means to liberate themselves from the confines of their captivity. It provides them with a positive identity, respect, camaraderie and even some income from commissions. Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, brilliantly curated by Nicole R Fleetwood, presents the works of 44 artists — all with deep ties to our dysfunctional prison system.

The image featured above, Portrait of Rodney Spivey-Jones, was fashioned by the formerly-incarcerated, self-taught, Philadelphia-based artist Russell Craig. Constructed with paint, cow blood, book pages and leather on canvas, the portrait pays homage to Rodney Spivey-Jones, a currently incarcerated artist, who received his bachelor’s degree from Bard College in 2017 through the Bard Prison Initiative. Several more images from this soulful, wonderfully expressive exhibition follow:

A segment from “Apokaluptein 16389067” — masterly crafted from 2010-2013 with prison bed sheets, transferred newsprint, color pencil, graphite and gouache — by the formerly incarcerated, Philadelphia-based multidisciplinary artist and activist Jesse Krimes

Self-taught, formerly incarcerated, South Carolina-based, multidisciplinary artist Jared Owens, “The Go Back,” 2020, Ink, soil from prison yard at F.C.I. Fairton, and parachute cloth on canvas

San Quentin State Prisonincarcerated artist and musician Gary Harrell, “Restore Justice,” 2019, Linocut on paper

Puerto Rico-born, Brooklyn-based, formerly incarcerated, self-taught artist Gilberto Rivera, “Untitled,” 2020, Newspaper, caulk, silicone, spray paint, acrylic and markers on canvas, one of three panels

Formerly incarcerated artist Ronnie Goodman –– who tragically died this past August on the streets of San Francisco’s Mission District — “San Quentin Arts in Corrections Art Studio,” 2008, Acrylic on canvas

Pennsylvania-based incarcerated artist Mark Loughney, “Pyrrhic Defeat: A Visual Study of Mass Incarceration,” 2014–present, close-up from a series of 651 graphite drawings on paper of fellow inmates

This must-see exhibition continues through April 4. 2021 at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. For further information and to reserve a timed ticket, check here.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky

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The image pictured above, “Shovels,” was fashioned with dye on tooled leather by the self-taught Southern African-American artist Winfred Rembert. Rendered in 2009, it was one of dozens of works recently on view in An Alternative Canon: Art Dealers Collecting Outsider Art at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Manhattan. What follows are several more artworks of folks at work by a variety of self-taught artists representing a diverse range of cultural and national backgrounds:

Nigerian native Abe Odebina, “Maintenance,” 2019, Acrylic on plywoodas seen earlier this year at Art on Paper in Manhattan

The late Mississippi native Theora Hamblett, “Making Sorghum,” 1964, Oil on canvas — as seen last year in “Vernancular Voices” at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans

Argentine folk artist Andrea Poceiro, “A Country Bakery,” 2017, Acrylic on canvas — as seen in 2018 group exhibition at GINA Gallery of International Naïve Art in Tel Aviv

The late Brooklyn-based artist Philip Weintraub, “Untitled,” Oil on canvas — as seen in 2019 group exhibition at the Self-Taught Art Genius Gallery in Long Island City

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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The image featured above in Part III of our series, A Couple of Couples, was fashioned by the self-taught Israeli artist Vered Gersztenkorn — whose beguiling aesthetic we discovered awhile back in Tel Aviv. Several more images of couples by a diverse range of artists — some self-taught and others formally trained — follow:

Self-taught Yonkers-based interdisciplinary artist Michael Cuomo, “Untitled,” Mixed media — as seen in his Yoho studio

NYC-based self-taught artist Erik Hanson does Bluto & Popeye: Mykonos,” 2017, Oil on canvas — as seen in “PRIDE,” a group exhibition held last summer at Postmasters Gallery in Tribeca

Queens-based multidisciplinary artist Issa Ibrahim, “She Hulk and Plastic Man,” Acrylic on canvas — as seen last summer at the Living Museum on the grounds of the Creedmoor Medical Center in Queens Village, NY

Sunset Park-based visionary artist Mari Biro — one of her many paintings from her ongoing series, “Cell Cells” — as seen at the Sunset House of Art in Sunset Park, Brooklyn

The late self-taught Jamaican artist John Dunkley, “Diamond Wedding,” 1940, Mixed media on canvas — as seen last year in his solo exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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The alluring image featured above, “Cityscape with Cars,” was fashioned with oil paint on found wood by the late African-American, Miami-based self-taught artist, Purvis Young. I came upon it while visiting the epic exhibition Vernacular Voices at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans last year. What follows are several more images of landscapes — real and imaginary — all created by self-taught artists.

The late African-American, Louisiana-based self-taught artist, Clementine Hunter, “Cotton to Gin / Baptism,” 1950, Oil on panel — as seen last year at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans

The late self-taught Asian/Canadian artist Matthew Wong, “August,” 2018, watercolor on paper — as seen in his solo exhibition at Karma in the East Village in 2018

Another by the late self-taught Asian/Canadian artist Matthew Wong, “Untitled,” 2018, Watercolor on paper — as seen in his solo exhibition at Karma in the East Village in 2018

The late African-American/Native-American self-taught artist Joseph Elmer Yoakum, “Mt Look Out in Toppenish Range near Vancouver Washington,” 1968, Color pencil, ballpoint pen on paper — as seen last summer in his solo exhibition at Venus Over Manhattan on Manhattan’s Upper East

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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