“One thing I know: my art gives up its secrets uneasily, like a magician jealously guarding his tricks' mechanics. I know when I've accomplished a valid work when I'm sure the viewer will never tire of looking at it.”
Jon Sarkin (b. 1953) is an American artist, based in Gloucester, MA. His art is an unmediated outpouring of creativity emerging from a mysterious psychological space we all possess, but which is usually inaccessible. The door that world was unlocked for Jon by a catastrophic event, but what was lost was also accompanied by a new ability to communicate powerfully through visual art. The door to this other place for Jon remains open, and through it he continues to share his unique vision of the world.
Sarkin is best known for his frenetic and visually arresting images, which combine word and image. These paintings and drawings cross-hatch and scrawl their way through pop culture, rock ‘n’ roll, mundane life, and the realms of the unconscious.
Sarkin became an artist only in his mid-thirties after an epiphany of sorts, which is usually attributed to a catastrophic brain injury he suffered as a result of complications from an operation to ease pressure on his acoustic nerve caused by a swollen blood vessel. Like the explosion in his skull that brought about this change in his life, there was no gentle, or hesitant creative beginning, and art began to pour out of Sarkin, as it were, from the offset in a torrent of words and image.
His work is in many public and private collections, including The American Visionary Art Museum, the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Centre Pompidou) in Paris, France. In 2011, Pulitzer Prize winning author Amy Ellis Nutt wrote a book about Jon Sarkin, "Shadows Bright as Glass." Colin Rhodes’ book, The Art of John Sarkin was published by the Henry Boxer Gallery in 2022.
Renaldo Kuhler (American, 1931-2013) was a scientific illustrator for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for thirty years, illustrating natural history specimens for publications and exhibits. Unbeknownst to family, friends, and co-workers, Kuhler was also a prolific self-taught artist. In 1948 Kuhler invented an imaginary country he called Rocaterrania and secretly illustrated the nation’s history for more than sixty years.
Kuhler’s life and work are the subjects of a documentary film, Rocaterrania (74 minutes, 2009), and a book, The Secret World of Renaldo Kuhler (Blast Books, New York), both by Brett Ingram, director of the Renaldo Kuhler Archive, proprietor and custodian of the Kuhler collection.
"My name is Margot. This is the name I have chosen. I was born on July 25, 1982 and grew up in the countryside. At first, I tried to do like everyone else. I learnt a job, florist, and then I became a business manager. "All was well in the best of all worlds".
But my future was to be different. The year 2014 was a radical change in the way I see life, my future, and how I was going to use my energy. One cycle ended, another began. I stopped my work. Back to the family home. It's an upheaval. I changed my route, I forked. I stopped everything. My subconscious knew that my future was somewhere else.
When I was 32 years old, in October 2014, I started drawing tirelessly. Everyday. All day. This energy was like a torrent, indeed it was frenetic and furious.
With time, I have found my rhythm. I multiply the features and I give birth to the forms. Then I assemble the curves with fluidity. A rhythmic is created, similar to music, to emotions. With the help of multiple pieces of paper, I build architectures, similar to shelters, a cabin in a tree, where my mind can retreat.I come to calm my thoughts on the world around me: inviolable territory where only the protectors of my sanctuary take root.
Through my drawings, I compose with the vibrations surrounding me, I give birth to a new universe and I transcend my memories. I free myself, I break my chains. I breathe .......... deeply."
The work of Margot (b. 1982) provides access to a profoundly interesting interior world. Self-taught as an artist, her pictures are a compelling synthesis of bold compositional structure and complex pictorial web of detail into which viewers are enticed and invited to lose themselves in imaginative wanderings. As such, Margot’s pictures speak clearly from a distance and, whether large or small in scale, they are enveloping close up. They are at once like the decorated facades of great, spiritual buildings and the packed, illuminated pages of ancient books. Within the architecture of the overall composition there is teeming life jostling cheek by jowl, displaying a horror vacui that is characteristic of much mediumistic, visionary and outsider art, from the likes of Augustin Lésage and Madge Gill, to Alex Grey and Adolf Wölfli.