Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Mose Tolliver Project

Folk Artists/Outsider Artists/Self-taught Artists - whatever you want to call them - often capture me with their practical approaches to art-making, balancing the simple and the sophisticated in visionary, highly independent works.
Alabama is a real pocket of genius in the world. I wanted to come down here to explore the environment some and to develop a project that somehow responds to or dialogues with what has grown from this far out place.

Mose Tolliver (1919 or 20 - 2006) gained widespread attention with his paintings. Nature, community, religion, politics, sensuality, and mortality were all part of his hardy visual explorations.

I've found that his fantastic, humorous, sometimes grotesque iconography really lends itself to three-dimensionality and kinetics. I'm setting out now to interpret some of his visions in this way. I hope to collaborate with the community of York both in creating this grand work and in developing a performance/presentation at the culmination of my residency.

Here are a couple of versions of Mr. Bones, a recurring character in Mr. Tolliver's work. Seems Mr. Bones is the result of the contemplation of mortality. Mr.Bones fills me with a sense of fun, whimsy, and horror.

Constructing the armature for Mr.Bones' big head.

I found this 3-wheeler in the storage shed. I will build a sculpture on the back of it and ride around.

Mary Jane is on the board of the Coleman Center. She has a cozy little shop around the corner where she makes the best baskets from found objects and natural things.

Tierney Malone of Houston was invited by the Coleman Center to paint this large mural about York and the musical legacy of the Black Belt region. He brought his friend, Drew, a great Jamaican chef, to assist him. I climbed the scaffolding intending to help out but it got dark before I could do anything.