Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, West Sussex, presents Outside In: National, a ground-breaking open-entry exhibition for artists producing work from the edges of society.
The exhibition will showcase 80 works by over 60 artists selected from pieces submitted to the Outside In: National competition over the past year. From substance misusers to self-taught visionaries, the exhibition will provide a unique insight into the extraordinary breadth and vitality of work produced by individuals from outside the mainstream art world.
The history of non-mainstream art goes back to Jean Dubuffet who first coined the term Art Brut (‘raw art') in 1945 to describe individuals producing work ‘unscathed by culture'. Then, in 1972, the British writer Roger Cardinal invented the term, ‘Outsider Art', as an English equivalent.
Over the last century countless names have been invented for the various sub-categories of non-mainstream art such as naïve, primitive, folk, visionary, and singular amongst others.
The early Art Brut and Outsider artists were primarily psychiatric patients whose work had no relation to the artistic cultural norms of their time. Their work inspired ‘established' artists such as Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso and Ben Nicholson who sought to find such ‘purity' in their own practice.
In recent years, ‘Outsider Art' has often been adopted to describe any artistic activity outside the mainstream, prompting divisions within the field as to the future of the term and debates over whether it does or should continue to exist.
Outside in was set up in 2006 by Pallant House Gallery to provide opportunities for artists with a desire to create who see themselves as facing a barrier to the art world. The goal of the project is to create a fairer art world which rejects traditional value and institutional judgements about whose work can and should be displayed.
At the heart of Outside In is an avoidance of labelling and there is no set criteria for inclusion in the project. Artists are asked to provide a brief description about why they feel they should be included in the project which is not shared publicly and an artist's statement which is submitted with their work and forms a reference point within the exhibition.
As well as the works selected for inclusion in the exhibition, six award winners will be chosen to have a solo exhibition at Pallant House Gallery (in 2013 and 2014) by a panel of judges which include the renowned performance artist Bobby Baker and art historian Roger Cardinal.
Marc Steene, Deputy Director at Pallant House Gallery, has spearheaded the project, describing it as a ‘gentle revolution', designed to enable a fairer art world where all who create have an equal opportunity to sit at the table and have their work seen and valued. He says ‘The challenge we are embracing is to reconsider how we define who is and is not an artist and what is and is not art in order to change attitudes in the mainstream art world'.
Outside In: National will be shown as part of a season of exhibitions at Pallant House Gallery celebrating non-traditional creativity including the first major solo show in a UK public Gallery for nearly 50 years of the father of Art Brut, Jean Dubuffet (27 October 2012 - February 2013) and an exhibition of the self-taught artist Pat Douthwaite (23 Oct 2012 - 3 February 2013).
During the exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, there will also be an audio trail throughout the Galleries, Outside In: Step Up, highlighting research into the Collection by Outside In artists.
Since launching in 2006 Outside In has developed a number of other exhibition and training opportunities alongside the triennial exhibition including Outside In: Step Up, which provides sector-based training through its Workshop Leaders, Research and Curating Programme; a dedicated website which houses thousands of artworks by non-traditional artists; and a series of satellite regional and touring exhibitions.
Notes to Editors:
Outside In: The competition
The Outside In: National competition was launched in July 2011. Submissions were invited from artists who find it difficult to access the art world for a variety of reasons such as health, disability, social circumstances or because their work does not conform to what is normally considered as ‘art'. Entry to the competition is free and is open to artists across the United Kingdom.
Outside In: The Selectors
60 to 80 works will be selected to be exhibited at Pallant House Gallery from more than 2000 submissions to the competition. The selectors are Tony Heaton, Director of Shape Arts; Collector of Outsider art, Rose Knox Peebles; Outside In ambassador and former Outside In award-winner Carlo Keshishian; and Marc Steene, Deputy Director of Pallant House Gallery. The selections will be announced by the 17 August 2012.
Outside In: The Judges
Six award winners will be chosen to each have a solo exhibition at Pallant House Gallery in 2013 and 2014 by a panel of three judges: Art Historian Roger Cardinal, the author of the first book about Outsider Art (1972); acclaimed performance artist Bobby Baker and Stefan van Raay, Director of Pallant House Gallery.