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Experience the never-before-seen works of outsider artist Purvis Young.
SEPTEMBER 15 – DECEMBER 29
MoCA Westport announces its Fall Exhibition, Purvis Young: This is the Life I See, featuring thirty-six large scale works by American outsider artist Purvis Young. It is the first time that the works, from the Collection of Lynne and Jack Dodick, have been on view to the public.
The exhibition will be on view September 15 – December 29, 2023. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 14, 2023 from 6 – 8 PM. The event is free for MoCA Members and $10 for the general public. Advance registration is requested here.
This is the Life I See
On view September 15 – December 29, 2023.
Purvis Young (1943 – 2010) was an entirely self-taught artist who dealt with the plight of the underprivileged and the consequences of racism and daily violence through a highly distinctive visual style. Young lived his entire life in the Miami, FL neighborhood of Overtown, once an entertainment destination as well as a designated black neighborhood in the segregated South.
Young created thousands of works that featured a mixture of painting and drawing with collaged elements, utilizing everyday discarded found objects such as scrap lumber and plywood. Some are large and some are small. Some are landscapes. Some are portraits. Some have figures, people. Some of these people have bodies. Some of these people have eyes. Some have both, some have neither.
Young’s work radiates rawness. His paintings indulge in color and shape. They are riddled with unrest and animation. They are intensely prolific. Ultimately, Young’s work is a dialogue of binaries. Freedom versus struggle. White versus black. Country versus city. Movement versus confinement. History versus contemporary. Truth versus deceit. Rich versus poor.
“I put locks in some of my paintings. A lot of people are locked up, struggling. The lock is playing a key part. It means mostly something’s wrong.”
– Purvis Young
Young began to create works of art while serving a three-year prison sentence for breaking and entering in his late teens. After his release, Young found inspiration in the Chicago and Detroit anti-Vietnam War murals. His works featured angels and holy men, pregnant women who he saw as beacons of hope, as well as protestors, warriors, wild horses and funerals.
Unlike many of the artists that he admired in his later years, Purvis Young never had access to a traditional art education. What arises out of his role as an outsider artist is yet another subversion of history. With no constraints imposed on him from the academy, Young was able to excise himself from typical artistic traditions and discover new truths. Despite Young’s outsider status, especially later in his career, the artist felt a profound connection and resonance to other artists such as Rembrandt and Gauguin. Though he was never part of an artist community, he maintained an invisible communion with the devoted legacy of artists that came before him.
Today, Young is considered a revered and significant outsider artist in Contemporary American art history.
MoCA Westport’s Fall gallery hours are Thursday – Sunday from 12 – 4 PM. Docent-led gallery tours are available on Thursdays and Saturdays at 1 PM.
MoCA Westport is grateful to Lynne and Dr. Jack Dodick for sharing their collection with MoCA Westport and the community.
To learn more about MoCA’s exhibitions and supporting programming, contact Liz Leggett, MoCA Westport’s Director of Exhibitions, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203/222-7070.
About The Collectors Dr. Dodick, a native of Canada, is an internationally renowned eye surgeon who has devoted his professional life to teaching, innovation and patient care. He served as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Dodick has served as past president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and numerous other Ophthalmological societies throughout his career.
He is the author of several publications and book chapters on the subject of Cataract Surgery and has presented over three hundred lectures and operated in several countries teaching his techniques worldwide. Lynne Dodick is a native of Fairfield County and worked as a devoted volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 28 years in the Asian Arts Department and Japanese Reading room.
Lynne and Jack Dodick have generously loaned their private collection of Purvis Young to MoCA Westport. This is the first time that it will be featured in a museum.
- Purvis Young, Funeral Procession Through The City, 48 by 96 inches. Paint on fiberboard. The Collection of Lynne and Jack Dodick.
- Purvis Young. Photo Courtesy David A. Raccuglia.
- Purvis Young, Shackled In Blues. 44 by 48 inches. Paint on board. The Collection of Lynne and Jack Dodick.
- Purvis Young, Pipe Truck Assemblage, 47 by 43 inches. Paint, wood, screen and cardboard. The Collection of Lynne and Jack Dodick.
MoCA Westport presents the art of today to build a dialogue, to affect our perceptions and beliefs, and to create transformative experiences. From local to national to international artists, our exhibitions and supporting programming both reflect and critically examine our world.