Naïve art has been at the forefront for ages in reflecting the fresh innocence of human narrative. As you look at this art, you can almost sense the detachment from the chaotic world we live in as the artist deeps his brush into the paint and guides it towards a creation of an idealized image that depicts the refreshing sense of innocence.
The artists allow their paintings to reflect a much brighter side of life by bringing to us recognizable scenes depicting daily events in the countryside and celebration of various seasons and festivals using child-like perspective, bright colors, and idiosyncratic scale. Naïve art helps in eroding the harsher and brutal themes of contemporary art and points us towards the simple things in life.
Freedom and Complete Self-Expression
Naïve artists also considered as self-thought artists are different from amateurs. These artists produce great works of art with the same passion as the trained artists, but without using the formal methods and knowledge.
One thing that stands out in this type of art is the absence of perspective, scale, and the use of saturated colors in place of the more subtle mixtures and tones. By refusing to be guided by the theory of arts elements and compositional rules, naïve artists are able to express themselves unreservedly.
The idea of freedom as portrayed by naïve art is what has appealed to many of the artist in history and shaped what we understand as art today. The primitive art of distant civilization was construed as the fountain of innovation for many of the artists especially those who lived during the post war period.
The simplified abstraction, motifs, and flatness of symbols witnessed in folk art and American quilts is an inspiration of major graphic designers and illustrators today. The rise of museums, galleries, and collections to celebrate naïve art is an acknowledgement that this art is an independent genre.
Naïve Art Movements
Naïve art is considered more of an outside art and historically no one exactly knows when the artist first entered the bubble that helped shape the art today. It is a visual language which has its own accent and pronunciation dating as back as the times of cave paintings to modern day art. Sign and house painters, cabinet makers, and coach builders in the 17th and 18th century used this form of art in their works.
The newcomers to Canada and America sought to retain their ethnic identity by producing artworks that not only reflected the beauty of their new found home, but also reflect their isolation. In the western society, many people consider the paintings of Henri Rousseau as the beginner of naïve art.
Self-thought authors point the famous Chicano art movement as the beginning of naïve art in mural paintings. In countries of Central and South America, naïve art was inspired by mysticism, mythology, tradition, and culture.
Naïve Artists and their Followers
Because of the timeless nature of naïve art, it is almost impossible to pinpoint who are the celebrated artists of this tradition. Because it is an outside art movement, some artists choose to remain anonymous.
However, this doesn’t mean that we have no artists who have stood and mastered naïve art. Some of the famous names include Henry Darger who represents folk art. Also, Henri Rousseau occupies a prestigious position as a prominent post-impressionism artist who many consider the father of naïve art. In the 1950s, Evan Generalic, Dragan Gazi, Josip Generalic, and Miljo Kovacic became celebrated painters and a worldwide phenomenon.
The expansion in the number of galleries and museum promoting self-thought art is testament to the increasing interest in this form of art. One of the biggest collections of naive paintings is the GINA Gallery of International Naïve Art.