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OUTSIDER? to Open 5/1 at Fountain Gallery

OUTSIDER? to Open 5/1 at Fountain Gallery

Fountain Gallery, located at 702 Ninth Avenue in New York City and representing artists with mental illness, announces the upcoming exhibition Outsider? This show, spotlighting works by Davida Adedjouma, Mercedes Kelly, Dick Lubinsky, and Keith Pavia, will be on view from May 1 through June 18, 2014, with an Opening Reception on May 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. Outsider? has been organized by Sue Stoffel.

"Outsider?, timed to run concurrently with the 2014 Outsider Art Fair, aims to continue the dialogue addressing the question of what is 'outsider art' today, when all creative processes and mental illnesses are being redefined," said Stoffel, an art historian and museum specialist. "Can and how does mental illness define the creative process? If we know beforehand that this is work by people with mental illness, does that change our perception of it?"

A seasoned collector of emerging art, Stoffel, who serves on the Fountain Gallery Advisory Board, works with contemporary artists on professional development and sees no difference between the temperament and creative output of artists with mental illness compared with other artists struggling with their oeuvres. Stoffel concurs with New York magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, who wrote in a February 2013 review of last year's Outsider Art Fair: "Which brings us to the horrible Rubicon that still separates so-called 'outsider,' 'self-taught,' and 'visionary' art from institutionally sanctioned official art. ... it's time to integrate 'outsider art' into permanent collections and erase that distinction for good."

Outsider? comprises nearly 60 pieces by four artists. Davida Adedjouma, whose bold assemblages incorporate African-American ephemera, has created for this show a woman "giving birth to herself" (featuring a female "body" built upon an actual concert cello). Mercedes Kelly's small-scale acrylic paintings of dogs represent her whimsical take on more than 20 breeds of canine. The haunting mixed-media works of Dick Lubinsky (1933-2001) portray the humanity of individuals. Keith Pavia invites us into the fantastical realm he has dubbed "Strunzland," a landscape of imagination populated by Mr. Strunz and a varied cast of beings.

Fountain Gallery is the premier venue in New York City representing artists with mental illness. Founded by Fountain House in 2000 as a not-for-profit exhibition space for its member-artists living and working with mental illness, the Gallery sells original artworks and collaborates with a wide network of artists, curators and cultural institutions. Embracing artists who are emerging or established, trained or self-taught, Fountain Gallery cultivates artistic growth and makes a vital contribution to the New York arts community.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and by generous support from the Jarvis & Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

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