Texas looms large: big skies, vast plains, large cities. The Lone Star State often inspires a heightened sense of place in its citizens that rivals or surpasses that of New Yorkers. This is frequently reflected in the art of Texas—paintings of bluebonnet fields, longhorn cattle, and scenes from the Texas frontier have long enjoyed popularity with collectors. Outsider artists, on the other hand, live and create on the fringes of culture and society. Generally removed from the influence of place, they prefer instead to chart their own, intensely personal, interior landscapes. They usually have little awareness of or connection to the mainstream art world or its history, and they typically possess limited intention that their work will have an audience or find a place in the broader landscape of art. Woven through the lives and work of outsider artists is a common thread of isolation. This isolation may be psychological, cultural, socioeconomic, geographical, racial, or institutionally imposed. Circumstances of life, chosen or not, have placed these artists apart. However, these artists, like their formally trained peers, find that they are compelled to make art; it is essential to their lives as a manifestation of their personal histories, societal and cultural forces, and an unfailing drive to express themselves. In Outsider Art in Texas: Lone Stars, author Jay Wehnert takes readers on a visually stunning excursion through the lives and work of eleven outsider artists from Texas, a state particularly rich in outsider artists of national and international renown.
About the Author
JAY WEHNERT is the director of Intuitive Eye, a Houston arts organization he founded in 2011. An independent curator, writer, collector, educator, and collaborator in a wide range of venues, he has curated shows for galleries and institutions in Texas, written for exhibition catalogues and other publications as well as his own website, presented at conferences, and worked directly with artists to present their art in a variety of settings. He resides in Houston, Texas.