Saturday, February 24, 2024

Andrew Edlin

Andrew Edlin

Andrew Edlin, owner of his eponymously named gallery and the Outsider Art Fair talks about the current show at the gallery and the upcoming fair.

Unaccompanied Conversations explores the work of three artists: the now acclaimed Outsider James Castle, Pearl Blauvelt, and John Byam, all of whom were untrained and from modest circumstances, yet developed unique approaches to their art using unconventional materials. And they all devoted their lives to their art in the face of little or no market support.

Besides their exceptional talent, these artists all shared traits of neurodiversity. They did not process information the way most people do, or hold “normal” conversations, even the banal—like commenting on the weather. But viewing the works of Castle, Blauvelt, and Byam can be like overhearing the conversations, often deep, sometimes funny, frequently intense, but always unusual, that have played out in the artists’ minds.

Since people who exhibit a range of divergent characteristics are often deemed intentionally antisocial, the talents of the neurodivergent have often been overlooked. Because of their inability to verbally articulate what they mean, interactions can be strained, leading to fear, misunderstanding, shunning, and pejorative labels.

James Castle (1899 – 1977) Untitled (Cars on sloped track), n.d. Soot, spit, and stick-applied color washes on found wax-coated cardboard 10.25 x 10.75 inches.
John Byam (1929 – 2013) Untitled (camera), n.d. Wood, glue and sawdust 7 x 7 x 2.5 in.
Pearl Blauvelt (1893 – 1987) Untitled (Photographer), c. 1940’s Graphite and colored pencil on notebook paper 8.5 x 11 inches.
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