Unreal Realms

January 20-March 26, 2017

Curated by Jan Petry and David Syrek

Adolf Wölfli (Swiss, 1864-1930). Untitled, 1928. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 13 x 18 ½ in. Collection of Audrey B. Heckler. Photo by Visko Hatfield

Adolf Wölfli (Swiss, 1864-1930). Untitled, 1928. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 13 x 18 ½ in. Collection of Audrey B. Heckler. Photo by Visko Hatfield

As a jumping-off point, Unreal Realms takes the world Henry Darger imagined in his Tolkien-esque novel, In the Realms of the Unreal, and provides a view into the otherworldly places created in the artworks of Adolf Wölfli, A. G. Rizzoli, Charles A. A. Dellschau, Ken Grimes and Darger. The nature of these works, which often are described as “visionary,” call attention to their makers’ sensibilities and outlooks.

“The focus of this exhibit is to posit a group of artists, like Henry Darger, whose body of work was a narrative of an alternative reality,” said Jan Petry, who co-curated the exhibit with David Syrek.

According to the art critic and author of the exhibit’s accompanying essay, Edward Gómez, “To encounter even a single image by any one of these artists, all of whom were or are primarily picture-makers, is to enter into the distinctive, imaginary world to which each one of them gave lasting, visible form.”

Click here to read Edward M. Gómez's full essay, "Urgent Visions of Inner, Outer and Imaginary Worlds".