In the 1940s, the French artist Jean Dubuffet began collecting “works produced by artists unscathed by artistic culture,” as he put it in a 1949 text describing his term, art brut (“unrefined art”). These artists—psychiatric patients, psychics, and untrained social recluses—work “from their own depths,” Dubuffet wrote, “and not from the conventions of classical or fashionable art.” Today, such creations are known as outsider art, expressions of subcultural, rural, or folk traditions that offer an alternative to establishment art. Gayleen Aiken, born in remote Barre, Vermont, was a self-taught folk artist who documented the local granite industry, country living, and her rural community in drawings. This exhibition focuses on Aiken’s interiors, charming scenes from home that contain a giddy mischief and narrative action hinting at disquiet. All are drawn with her first and favorite tools: crayons and colored pencils. —C.J.F.
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