The Amarillo Museum of Art (AMoA) is opening a new exhibit for the public this week.
AMoA is presenting “Strangers in a Strange Land: Photographs of American Visionaries and Their Environments” starting Friday, April 22 and continuing through Aug. 14.
According to a news release, this exhibition of 54 photographs, taken over the past 12 years by Cincinnati, Ohio-based American historian and photographer Steve Plattner, honors 25 American “visionaries” and their often idiosyncratic, highly personal worlds.
“While there is no overarching term to adequately describe the collective characteristics of these visionaries, as a group they share at least three traits,” the release says:
– Each of them has resisted the formidable pressures of mainstream American culture to pursue their own path and craft their own personal worlds of wonder.
– Not satisfied with visions alone, through force of will they have managed to transform their remarkable ideas into something tangible and substantial, usually with found and scavenged materials.
– They are largely self-taught, with little or no formal training.
The conceptual and stylistic scope of the work of the subjects included in Plattner’s photos is as vast as the variety of materials and techniques they employ, with visionaries from all walks of life — mechanics, electronic engineers, art museum conservators,
teachers, veterans, preachers, farm laborers, welders, deputy sheriffs and a hobo turned cowboy.
“While they are surrounded by American consumer culture each of them has gone against the grain of larger societal forces to shape lyrical one-of-a-kind worlds of their own,” the release says. “Through their persistence of vision, these often-marginalized souls have each built hand-crafted kingdoms – places and objects rich in meaning and full of unintended beauty. Their works reflect their personal visions and express a broad array of social, political, and spiritual themes and messages.”
“Trying to fit these individual artists into a collective pigeonhole tends to be a fool’s errand,” Plattner says in the release. “Cultural historians tend to define them as folk, outsider, naive, or eccentric. The term ‘visionary,’ however, comes closest to conveying their ethos. While there is no overarching term to adequately describe the collective characteristics of these visionaries.”
The Amarillo Museum of Art is located at 2200 S. Van Buren on the Washington Street campus of Amarillo College. Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
For additional information, visit www.amoa.org, email [email protected], or call 806-371-5050 or 806-371-5392 (weekends).