Carleton Curatorial Laboratory (CCL): Imaginary Worlds: Scottie Wilson and Art Brut
Curated by Pauline Goutain and Jill Carrick
12 May – 07 September 2014
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In Europe, Scottie Wilson is regarded as one of the most famous Outsider artists, and is often presented as a classic example of an art brut creator. Born in Glasgow around 1890, “Scottie” immigrated to Canada in the 1930s, where he began to draw, “all of a sudden,” he later said. His work was exhibited and sold in Toronto by Douglas Duncan, director of the Picture Loan Society. After Scottie returned to London in the 1940s, the Surrealists enthusiastically supported his work, introducing him to the French painter Jean Dubuffet.
For Dubuffet, Wilson was an exemplary art brut artist. Dubuffet had coined the term art brut (“raw” or “rough” art) to designate works made by untrained artists, people he defined as “unsmirched by artistic culture.” Exhibitions in Canada of Scottie Wilson’s work have tended to focus on his Canadian output. Imaginary Worlds instead focuses on Scottie’s reception in Europe, and investigates his drawings through the lens of Dubuffet’s definition of art brut. It reflects upon the ways in which Scottie’s art supported and challenged the art brut universe Dubuffet imagined.