'˜Outsider' artist has work featured in Chichester's Radical Craft show

A local artist has spoken about the importance of encouraging freedom of creativity following the showcasing of his work at a Chichester gallery.

Monday, 4th April 2016, 1:02 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2016, 1:06 pm

Ian Sherman, who lives in Havant, is currently exhibiting his assemblage artwork, titled ‘A Comedian’, at the Radical Craft exhibition, held at Pallant House Gallery.

In Radical Craft, the work of 34 international and UK artists has been brought together to be displayed.

Many of these artists are self-taught and face barriers in accessing the art world, and all express their creativity in ways which look beyond the boundaries of convention.

Ian’s artwork is produced in an isolated and intuitive way, and he identifies himself as on the fringes of outsider art.

Ian said: “The piece that is currently on display at Radical Craft at Pallant House Gallery is called A Comedian, which I started in around 1995.

“I chose to have this one in the exhibition as it has never been shown in an exhibition before. It’s a work ‘in the round’, so there’s a lot in the back of the assemblage piece.

“I picked the happiest piece, and I hope that people will be intrigued by it and want to find out more about the others.”

Ian is also part of Outside In, a project which was founded in 2006 by Pallant House Gallery.

Outside In promotes inclusion and participation for artists in the contemporary art world, and provides a platform for artists who define themselves as facing barriers to the art world.

For many of the artists who take part in Outside In, difficulties accessing the art world have occurred due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation.

“I’ve been working with Outside In since 2009.

“I heard about the project and went along to some classes,” Ian said.

“Then I volunteered to help with the classes, and I also worked as a Partner in Art for a while.

“It’s a great project, and it’s expanding globally.”

Ian attended a Foundation course at Portsmouth Art College and went on to study Product Design.

Feeling that he wasn’t given the creative freedom he needed, he painted independently of his studies and eventually became a fine artist.

Therefore for Ian, having his work included in exhibitions such as Radical Craft are important for him as an artist, and also are important for all those who experience difficulties accessing the art world.

“It is very important for me to see my work on display,” Ian added.

Radical Craft is a Craftspace and Outside In national touring exhibition, and will be displayed at Pallant House Gallery untl June 12.

Visit www.pallant.org.uk for more information.

Outside In aims to create a fairer art world which rejects traditional values and institutional judgements about whose work can and should be displayed.

Since its inception, Outside In has engaged more than 5,000 artists traditionally excluded from the mainstream art world.

Ian’s experience working in art therapy has informed his own production of artwork, alongside his own unqiue route to becoming and artist.

Ian said: “I worked in art therapy at Graylingwell Hospital in Chichester in my early twenties.

“What I really loved about working there was the sense of freedom everyone had in producing work. It was very free - imagination was encouraged. It was a good place to work.

“Creativity for people is healthy.”

Ian has about 30 years worth of artwork, and he often goes back to pieces to add to them years later.

“Alongside my assemblage pieces, I also create genre paintings and assemblage support paintings which give further context to the assemblages structures. These paintings are like a ‘supporting act’ to the assemblages.

“Outside In particularly like the assemblages. I like to display them with the paintings, but it is out of my hands!

“The genre paintings are kind of the ‘awkward truth’ - I’m a bit of an idiosyncratic artist. I like to let the assemblages and paintings speak for themselves.

“I’ve got about 30 years worth of work, and I’ve worked pretty consistently. Although, I have destroyed a fair bit of work - sometimes, I try recreating the work, as if I’ve been haunted by it. Place for a Clown was destroyed, so I had to make number two. I don’t paint pictures of people - I create a painting of the memory of the person.

“Although I work for a long time on my work, I don’t work on them indefinitely - I do get to the point where I’m ready to move on and make the next one.”

Ian is currently working on more assemblages and paintings.

“I’m currently working on a piece called Distraction Island, which was out in the garden for about nine years. I’m also working on a piece called Cosmic Mausoleum, which is an imagined mausoleum for my mother. It’s quite an unusual piece - it’s made out of driftwood found at Hayling, and collaged photocopied images.”

Find out more about Outside In at www.outsidein.org.uk.

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