LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Good Luck Gallery
, the only commercial space on the West Coast dedicated to showing Self-taught art including Outsider, Folk and Visionary work, will exhibit at The Outside Art Fair, which opens on January 17-20, 2019, at The Metropolitan Pavilion in New York. Among the highlights at Booth 26 is a painting, by the famed Outsider artist William Hawkins, which has been in a private collection and not seen for decades.
"I'm thrilled to present a cross-section of some of the most exciting artists in the field today, says Paige Wery, who established The Good Luck Gallery, five years ago in L.A.'s historic Chinatown Arts District. "Needless to say, the Hawkins is an important focal point of my stand, but equally so are other familiar names such as Helen Rae, Willard Hill, and Cathy Ward, while new discoveries Ted Diamond and AJ Aucoin round out our offerings."
Each of these artists' works is a reflection of their extraordinary unconventional life stories. Here's a glimpse into their backgrounds and what makes them tick:
AJ AuCoin (Canadian, b. 1933)
Making his New York debut at The Outsider Art Fair, the evocative multi-layered paintings on cardboard and canvas of AJ AuCoin, a poet first and foremost, are designed to enhance and adorn his sonnets. AuCoin began writing poetry while still a teenager and only came to painting at the age of 66 as a hobby after retiring from his job as a "raker man" paving roads. AuCoin lives on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, where he's resided for the past eight decades.
Painting exclusively with his fingers using only red, white, green, blue and black paint procured from a dollar store, he signs his art AJ/AJ, explaining that the first AJ represents the Id which creates while the second AJ represents the Ego which achieves.
Ted Diamond (American 1938-1986)
J. Theodore "Ted" Diamond (American 1938-1986) was diagnosed with schizophrenia early on and spent much of his life in the public psychiatric ward of Boston General Hospital; he would eventually take his own life in 1986 at the age of forty-seven. Although he studied at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Diamond never developed a professional career, spending much of his life obsessed by personal demons.
After his passing, a few hundred paintings that had been mounted in notebooks and kept in Diamond's room were found by a dear friend who kept them safe for over 30 years. In 2018 The Good Luck Gallery was honored to showcase Ted Diamond's paintings in the first -ever solo exhibition of his work.
William Hawkins (American, 1895-1990)
Born in Kentucky, William Hawkins is a self-taught artist who was active in the Columbus, Ohio area for most of his life. He began his painting career in the 1930s, experimenting with house paint on found wood, using images from both pop culture media and his own photography as inspiration for his fantastical pieces. His expressionist paintings are marked by his broad, painterly brushstrokes enlivened by his bold color palettes. He chose subjects from his own life as sources for his spiritual, almost surreal paintings. For most of his life, Hawkins supported himself by working a wide range of laborious jobs; his series of animals reflect his time working on a farm breaking horses. He is promoted by the Foundation for Self Taught Artists and his work is featured in the permanent collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York.
Willard Hill (American, b.1934)
The intricate masking tape and mixed media sculptures of Willard Hill draw from a lifetime spent in the small town of Manchester, Tennessee.
Over twenty years ago, when Hill returned home debilitated after a hospital stay, the idea came to him to start making sculptures out of all the everyday detritus he had at hand. Primarily composed of masking tape, Hill's sculptures also utilized plastic bags, wire, toothpicks, rocks and a plethora of other found materials. In the mere two years since Willard Hill received his first ever solo exhibition at the age of 82, his work has been exhibited by The Good Luck Gallery in Paris and New York, and his position within the African-American art diaspora was cemented with his inclusion in Reclamation! Pan-African Works from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection, The Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, VA.
Jacob Lehman (Polish, 1887-1972)
Jacob Lehman was a self-taught Polish émigré artist, whose lyrical late-life drawings speak to his hardscrabble past and man-of-the-people convictions. His portraits of friends and neighbors possess a simple and direct beauty. Set against backdrops of irregular bright stripes, his subjects stare straight at the viewer with elongated eyes and melancholy expressions, while his writhing floral drawings exude a fragile innocence and are redolent with nostalgia for a youth spent in rural Polish villages.
Born and raised in the shtetls of the Polish Pale, as a young man Lehman learned woodcarving, one of the few occupations then available to Jews. On the eve of World War I, Lehman and his siblings left Europe and settled in New Jersey, where he found work as a cabinet-maker. In 1937 the United Furniture Workers Union formed and Lehman moved to Los Angeles, where he became a union organizer for the radical local 576 and became a militant agitator for social change. After he retired, Lehman began attending classes at the Queen Anne Recreation Center, which is where his life as an artist began, with his classmates often serving as models for his portraits. In 2016 The Good Luck Gallery was delighted to bring attention to this underrepresented artist with a solo exhibition of his work.
Helen Rae (American, b. 1938)
Composed using colored pencil and graphite, Helen Rae creates dense, profoundly fractured drawings that are instantly recognizable and inescapably alluring. A bold use of color and sophisticated command of design culminates in a torrent of pattern and texture. Working out of First Street Gallery - a progressive art studio for adults with developmental disabilities, now in Upland, CA - for the last thirty years, Rae utilizes fashion magazines as a point of departure, elevating the source material to expose a world of momentous, subversive vision. She has been featured in Vogue, and Vulture, among many other publications, and has received solo shows at The Good Luck Gallery, Los Angeles, and White Columns, New York. Helen's third solo exhibition is now on view at The Good Luck Gallery.
Cathy Ward (British, b. 1960)
The mesmerizing scratchboard drawings of Cathy Ward pull the viewer into a realm of dizzyingly complicated beauty that exudes both spirituality and sensualityHer background includes a harsh and affecting convent education under the Sisters of Mercy, a turbulent psychological history, and formative years spent on the margins of British youth culture in the company of punks, pagans and bikers. Despite her schooling, her work is embraced by the visionary arts community for its intuitive nature, sheer power, and undeniable originality of her work. Residing in London, Ward has exhibited widely in Europe and internationally, and has received two solo exhibitions with The Good Luck Gallery, Los Angeles.