Eugene von Bruenchenhein: From the Wand of the Genii

September 16, 2011 - January 14, 2012
Curated by Lisa Stone

Painting of towers in landscape by Eugene von Breunchenhein with texture created using corrugated cardboard

Fascinated with botany and science, Von Bruenchenhein wrote extensively on his own metaphysical theories of biological and cosmological origins along with reams of poetry on nature, love, war, politics, and imaginary travels through time and space. In 1954 Von Bruenchenhein began making intricate, brightly colored “finger paintings” of atomic mushroom clouds, mythical sea creatures, fantastic landscapes, shooting comets and futuristic metropolises. During his own lifetime, Von Bruenchenhein never achieved significant recognition for his art, and by the time of his death thousands of works crammed the tiny house he had shared with his wife and muse, Marie.

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein: From the Wand of the Genii focused on the dominant stimuli of nature and architecture, of growth patterns and imaginative structures. Referencing his artistic process, this exhibition showed his growth as he moved freely across mediums; from photography, painting, ceramic, bone, and cement sculpture. The exhibition included works from various periods, organized to reflect the evolution of motifs and ideas, rather than presented chronologically or by specific media.

Click here to view photos of the exhibition on Flickr.


You Better Be Listening: Text in Self-Taught Art

July 8, 2011 - January 14, 2012
Curated by Matthew Arient

Painting on left with biblical imagery surrounded by dense text; painting on right with scribbled text and six figures beneath

From street preachers to sermonizers of all persuasions, this exhibition featured artists who use written words as an integral part of their art. Art can be used as a form of communication and self-taught artists often use text as a way to complete their message. Curator Matthew Arient states, "In the work of trained artists, many times the text takes on a secondary, deeper meaning that the viewer is supposed to understand. For untrained, self-taught artists, text many times takes on a much more literal aspect." You can see this literal message in the work of Reverend Howard Finster who used his paintings as a way to spread the gospel after he was told by a voice to paint "sacred art."

Other artists, such as Dwight Mackintosh, use text as a sort of pattern or separate creation as his automatic writing is completely illegible. Whether it is the Biblical passages of Sister Gertrude Morgan, the rants of Jesse "Outlaw" Howard or the misogynistic diatribes of Prophet Royal Robertson, for each of these artists the message in the text is as important as the image.

Click here to view photos of the exhibition on Flickr.

Esta Chido Todo: The Drawings of Raul Maldonado

June 3 - September 3, 2011
Curated by Susan Matthews

Black and white photo portrait of artist Raul Maldonado standing in front of one of his drawings

Translated “it’s all cool,” Intuit presented the first major exhibition of the work of Raul Maldonado. A young Mexican immigrant from Hanover Park, Illinois, Maldonado creates large-scale works comprised of 22-by-28 inch poster board, completing and numbering one board at a time on his drawing table. These dozens of boards are then assembled into the completed drawing that can stretch up to 15 feet. Growing up in Guanajuato, Mexico, Maldonado began drawing at the age of 10 inspired by the cartoons he watched on television. Like many self-taught artists, Maldonado finds influence in pop culture sources such as anime and graffiti.

Click here to view photos of the exhibition on Flickr.

Architecture of Hope - the Treasures of Intuit

January 21 - May 14, 2011
Curated by Roger Manley

Sculpture of church made out of wood and bottle caps on the left; abstract sculpture by Lonnie Hollie on the right

In celebration of Intuit's 20th anniversary, we invited Roger Manley, folklorist, author and director of the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University, to mine Intuit's permanent collection for this exhibition. In his curatorial statement Manley writes, "Architecture of Hope - the Treasures of Intuit will explore a range of inspired responses to struggle as generated by self-taught artists to transform life's challenges into opportunities for artistic invention." This exhibition featured 84 works of art, both two-dimensional and sculpture, by 39 self-taught artists.