West Chester Gallery Features “Outsider Art”

Geraldo Gonzalez The Art Trust
The Art Trust’s new show highlights local, self-taught artists from a Wilmington studio

by Melissa Jacobs

Drawings, paintings, angels, and a bus with legs are just a few of the pieces showcased in “Untethered Vision,” the new exhibit at The Art Trust in West Chester. Geraldo Gonzalez, Jr., Kenneth Carley, Meme and George Thomas are among the eight artists whose work is on display through Aug. 5. While the subjects and mediums vary, all of the artists have one thing in common: They are self-taught. If that seems like an unlikely qualification for a major art show … well, that’s exactly how Katee Boyle wanted it.

Boyle, the award-winning, mixed media artist from Kennett Square, serves on The Art Trust’s board of directors and curated “Untethered Vision” to spotlight what used to be called “outsider art.” The intentionally non-inclusive term described artists without formal training who, because of a lack of credentials and connections, had trouble getting the attention of galleries and museums.

Pictured: Untitled #1 by Knicoma Frederick.

With this exhibit, Boyle turns that paradigm on its head (as she is wont to do) and partnered with The Creative Vision Factory in Wilmington, DE. CVF is a nonprofit that provides studio space, workshops and other artistic support for people on the behavioral health spectrum. “After viewing its online archives and reading everything I could about CVF, I finally got myself over there,” Boyle said. “I’m not sure that I heard a word that CVF director Michael Kalmbach said during my visit. I was so touched by both the work and the artists – in addition to the community they have created – that my head was spinning. Everything clicked and what started out as a group of three artists turned into eight.”

That’s how a legged bus made of DART passes came to be featured in The Art Trust’s window. It’s the work of Geraldo Gonzalez, Jr., aka “The King Of Transit,” whose art depicts trains, buses and other forms of transportation. “I have been a fan of Geraldo’s for some time and I wanted to build the exhibit around his work,” Boyle said.

Pictured: Trainland City by Geraldo Gonzalez, Jr.

While Gonzalez’s pieces are prominent, the show is a riotously colorful mélange of artists’ work that displays attention to detail – and storytelling. “At first glance, the work in this exhibit is full of joy. When you take the time to look beyond the color and forms, and learn about the artists’ history, the work becomes enormously more meaningful,” Boyle said. “This group of artists have made huge accomplishments in the face of adversity.”

The Art Trust Untethered Vision

Thanks to Boyle’s careful curation, those adversities are neither weighty nor somber. Rather, they are explained in placards that accompany the art on display. And Boyle priced the art perfectly, making it affordable for people who want to support these artists and enjoy their work. “As an artist and curator, my mission is to have viewers walk away asking questions, wanting to know and see more,” Boyle said. “My aim is to teach people how important it is to learn to look.”

“Untethered Vision” is on display through Aug. 5 at The Art Trust at Meridian Bank, 16 W. Market St., West Chester.

Want more stories about local artists? Read about Katee Boyle and Randall Graham’s recent exhibits.

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