Project Ability associate artist Tanya Raabe was in the studio yesterday meeting with ReConnect artists to discuss the meaning, understanding and relevance of the term Outsider Art. This is the first of a rolling conversation with artists in Scotland, Wales and England where we explore contemporary artists who are working outside the mainstream norm, thinking about the labels that are used in describing their work and the barriers which can see their work placed into particular types of exhibitions.
We had tea and cake and enjoyed a really interesting mix of viewpoints. Lots of people spoke about the huge amount of satisfaction they got from seeing their work in exhibitions, but first and foremost they made the work for themselves and for their own personal reasons. They also talked about how when work is taken out of the studio and exhibited, they had confidence that Project Ability would show the work with dignity and to best effect, and that they did not consider their personal histories to be relevant to how people viewed their work. Mostly, people were pragmatic and if being labelled an outsider artist brought opportunities, they’d go with that particular flow.
We recorded the session and will make a more detailed note that we will share with you and ask that you share your thoughts on this subject.