M.David & Co. is proud to present Quirky Circus: Bunnies, Robots, Toys, and All, featuring work by Ellen Anthony, Phyllis Famiglietti, and Cynthia Sparrenberger.
My first experience with Outsider Art (though I prefer the term Vernacular) was when I spent time in Atlanta, became close to Bill Arnett, and then became friends and had the opportunity to exhibit Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, and Quilters of Gees Bend at my Gallery.
I was not aware of these artists beforehand and their communities.
In the subsequent years I have come to see their influence on so many of the leading contemporary artists and come to realize the term "outsider" has been more complicated.
Outsiders come from many different demographics, and a new one has emerged for me once again: that of women of an age and a demographic that were denied or chose not to pursue careers or formal education (while always creative and making work) as artists because of society's constraints and expectations many of that demographic faced at that time.
Ellen, Phyllis and Cynthia are prime examples of this demographic and new "community".
Ellen Anthony (b. 1947)
Ellen Anthony began making Bunraku puppets and wacky contraptions midlife that became Quirky Circus, a silent one-woman puppet show that ran from 2000 to 2012. After a shoulder injury in 2018, she picked up a paint brush and began moving colors around. In 2021 she began making constructions from discarded junk: wood, wire, wax, electrical cable, cotton, and sinew. Her work emerges from inner explorations. She exhibits on Cape Cod. Instagram @ellenquirky
Phyllis Famiglietti (b. 1952)
Phyllis Famiglietti ﬁnds magic in found objects…"they contain a certain type of energy from a previous life". Wires, springs, hinges, switches, homeless pieces that once belonged to something or someone, somewhere at sometime, have ﬁlled many of her drawers and cabinets for years. With both pathos and humor, she combines and assembles these objects to create small 3D pieces. Her work speaks to aging, decay and abandonment, but at the same time reveals an optimism and an ulterior beauty. An award winning video editor, ﬁlmmaker and collagist, Phyllis has exhibited in numerous galleries in New York and New England. After forty years in NYC, she now lives and works in Boston. www.phyllisfamiglietti.com
Cynthia Sparrenberger (b. 1954)
Cynthia Sparrenberger is an American mixed media artist working within formats that range from books, to film, to works on paper, whose subject matter deals with the illusory, transitory and transcendent. Specific within this range of unique imaginary worlds, she expansively depicts the broad-ranging vulnerabilities of the human condition with all of its imperfections, alienation and childhood existential angst, always tempered with humor. Her childlike images, executed with collage, acrylic paints, oil stick, and graphite convey complex emotional states through the simple, ironic, and heartfelt imagery.