Sunday, February 17, 2013

A visit with some folk art

A group of us headed into the country today to catch the eleventh Fearrington Folk Art Show. We ate brunch first at the Granary restaurant, where the food is always reliably good if never stellar.  After the show, we browsed the lovely McIntyre's Books.  Both of those experiences were laid-back fun with friends.

The show itself was far more of a mixed bag. 

On the one hand, I applaud many things about it.  I'm interested in folk and outsider art.  I like that it doesn't charge a booth fee or take a percentage of the sales of the participants; most artists, much less folks artists, are barely getting by.  The regional focus is a reasonable choice.  I enjoyed wandering the aisles and checking out the many strange ways these people approach their art. 

That said, I'm not at all sure I'll be returning next year, because the show's quality just isn't where I'd like it to be.  I certainly found the work of most of the artists to be at least interesting, but too many were either weak or simply didn't belong there (a completely standard potter comes to mind).  I wish the show would search more broadly for new talent and also make room for some significant percentage of first-time artists each year.  (They definitely ought to recruit Jain to show her odder pieces there; they would both fit right in and stand out for their quality.)

Despite my misgivings, if you haven't been before, you should definitely check out the show at least once.  At five bucks a person, it's a bargain, and at least a few of the odd pieces are bound to play with your head--in a good way. 

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