This project is a groundbreaking survey of art environments created by self-taught artists from across Spain, most of whose idiosyncratic sculptures, gardens, and buildings have never before been fully documented, let alone published or exhibited. These sites are developed organically and improvisationally, without formal architectural or engineering plans; they are at once evolving and complete. Often highly fanciful, colorful, and quixotic, the work is frequently characterized by incongruous juxtapositions, an approach that makes the work appear impulsive and spontaneous.
The exhibition includes photographic documentation as well as selected artifacts by several of the artists, some of which were created especially for this display. Among the artists included are Josep Pujiula, renowned internationally for his “woven” wooden towers and labyrinths (Argelaguer, Catalunya) and Francisco González Gragera, whose Capricho de Cotrina (Los Santos de Maimona, Extremadura) is an outstanding example of architectural art brut. In conjunction with the exhibition, a book has been published by leading outsider art imprint Raw Vision, which features detailed case studies of the artists and their work, along with contextualized historical and theoretical references to art history, anthropology, architecture, Spanish area studies, and folklore. Copies of the book, which includes over 1100 pages and over 5000 images divided between the hard copy and an enclosed CD, are available through the gallery for purchase, or at Amazon and other internet sites.
The project was undertaken by Jo Farb Hernandez, Director of SPACES – Saving and Preserving Arts and Cultural Environments – and of the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery at San Jose State University (California), and is a product of almost fourteen years of research.