Songs of Innocence and Experience
Debut showing of work by outsider artists Frank Walter, Forrest Bess and Alfred Wallis
A debut showing for the work of Frank Walter, the decidedly eccentric 20th century Antiguan artist, writer and philosopher who fancied himself a descendant of European nobles, provides a jumping-on point to exhibit the work of a trio of outsider artists. Also appearing are Forrest Bess, the Texan fisherman who would paint literally visionary semi-abstract forms and who later grew to obsess over hermaphroditism as the key to immortality, and Alfred Wallis, the Cornish painter -- also a fisherman -- whose naïve, perspective-free harbour scenes earned him the attention of Ben Nicholson.
Walter’s work is the most well-represented of the three, and the show makes a good case for his deserving an equal place alongside the others. Time spent in Scotland (just one country in which he fancied his roots lay) yielded a series of small but evocative thumbnail landscapes, while the exhibition also bears pleasing abstract designs, some almost caricatured portraits of Antiguan ladies and gentlemen, and one amusingly baffling painted sketch of Hitler playing cricket. The biographies, however, are at least as enticing as the actual work.
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 30 Mar