Group Show

Outsider Artists: Bridging Communities

30 May - 1 July
OPENING: Saturday 27 May, 5-8pm

This June David Lusk Gallery Nashville presents Outsider Artists: Bridging Communities, artworks by self-taught artists. The exhibition is guest-curated by John Jerit, a renowned collector of works by self-taught artists. The exhibition is a survey of the genre, with a wide mix of imagery and materials. Outsider Artists: Bridging Communities presents a comprehensive view into this important subset of contemporary American artwork.

The exhibition of works by artists commonly classified “Self-taught,” “Folk” or “Outsider” artists includes works by Mose Tolliver (1918-2006), Jimmy Lee Sudduth (1910-2007), Howard Finster (1916-2001), Purvis Young (1943-2010) and others. Rather than conveying individuality, Outsider artists typically depict a larger cultural identity associated with the shared values of a specific community. Commonly they use whatever materials are at hand in a manner that is often obsessive or compulsive. Often Outsider artists have very little formal education, especially not in art history or artistic practices.

Each artist in Outsider Artists: Bridging Communities offers a unique representation of their specific background and culture.

Mose Tolliver, known as “Mose T,” was born into a large family of sharecroppers. When his legs were crushed in a forklift accident in the 1960’s Tolliver began painting. His piece Untitled Yellow Bird is emblematic of his whimsical style, and materials: house paint and plywood used to portray animals and figures, drawn from his life in a farming community.

Jimmy Lee Sudduth, an early master of self-taught art is known for creating work deeply rooted in the African American culture of the rural South. He created his own pigments using mud, plants, sugar to depict figures and animals on board.

Howard Finster, a Baptist preacher, used what he believed to be divine visions from God as inspiration for his work. Finster’s work is easily recognized for his bizarre images of celebrities, angels and aliens that were surrounded with Bible verses and prophesies.

Work by the artists in Outsider Artists: Bridging Communities has been exhibited in major museums across the country including the New Orleans Museum of Fine Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Philadelphia College of Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Museum of American Folk Art to name a just few.

This is the third exhibition at DLG-Nashville with a guest curator. Jerit began collecting as a teenager by amassing old advertising signs that caught his interest. From there his focus moved to tin toys, Art Deco and craft furnishings, to the paintings of Hungarian artist Ladis W. Sabo (1870-1998), then fully into Outsider art in earnest in the mid-1990s. He says, “Buy what you love! Love what you buy!”, With that mantra Jerit has amassed a vast and historically extensive personal collection of Outsider art that sheds light on the vibrant visions of untrained artists.

David Lusk Gallery is located at 516 Hagan Street in Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11-5. For more information or visuals please contact Amelia Briggs at 615.780.9990 or

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