Published: May 27, 2008 08:21 PM
Modified: May 27, 2008 08:21 PM
Ginger Young had never seen anything quite like it.
Six years ago, Young, a Chapel Hill based art dealer and curator, took Peter Loose, a self-taught artist from Hull, Ga., down to the former mill town of Bynum to meet Clyde Jones. Jones, as most folks around here know, is a self-taught artist whose Bynum home and yard are famously populated by his chainsaw-sculpted "critters."
It was apparent from the moment they met that Loose and Jones were kindred spirits.
"I have never seen chemistry work so quickly," Young said. "I can't describe how bonded they are, and I watched that friendship flourish in the first two minutes. It was like they were speaking their own language."
The men have been close friends and collaborators ever since, and Loose has recently published a book of photographs about Jones. "Our Friend Clyde" is a profile, mostly in pictures, of Jones, his Bynum home and his critters.
This weekend, both artists will be at Young's gallery to sign and discuss "Our Friend Clyde" -- and to do some art, on a unique sort of canvas -- during Young's 11th annual spring benefit art sale.
The sale will feature more than 1,000 works by 60 self-taught artists from the American South. Among them are some of the best-known artists in the self-taught tradition, including Howard Finster, Mose Tolliver and more.
"The artists are all self-taught, and the aesthetic is all over the place," said Young, who specializes in representing self-taught artists. "One artist does mud paintings, which may not sound like much but are really amazing. Another one makes planes from found objects, and those will be all over the yard. It's an eclectic collection."
Ten percent of all sales will go to an organization called Room to Read, which builds schools and libraries and gives scholarships to girls in underprivileged villages in Asia and Africa. Young also will donate $1 to the organization for every person who attends the show.
"I learned about this group and was really impressed by the work they do," said Young, who stages benefit art sales at her gallery twice a year. "They work with kids and literacy, two things I care deeply about. So this was a natural."
Young has represented Loose for a number of years. He paints fanciful images of animals -- birds, dogs, snakes and more -- saturated with dots of brilliant color. He also makes what he calls "birdhouses," sculptural wall hangings adorned with found objects.
"They're hollow and sculpted inside, and he decorates them with coffee beans and peanut shells," Young said. "He also makes these amazing dulcimers in the shape of things like alligators and snakes. He's really remarkable."
Jones doesn't sell his work, as a rule, but Young has known him for many years. This weekend, he's going to be at the gallery to work on a big art project -- Loose's 1994 Ford F-150 pickup truck.
The truck, known as the Clydemobile, is a visual testament to the two artists' friendship; it's already covered with Jones' paintings of penguins, turtles and butterflies. Jones and Loose will perform a major, glitter-heavy overhaul on the Clydemobile in honor of its fifth birthday as a collaborative work in progress.
"Clyde has hatched some kind of master plan for the truck," Young said. "Peter doesn't even know what it's going to be."
For information on the Ginger Young Gallery or this weekend's show, see www.gingeryoung.com. For information on Room to Read, see www.roomtoread.org
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