Outsider art in Montreal

Old Montreal

My apologies for no blogs coming from two weeks in Montreal. Shortly after I arrived I had major problems with my laptop (again) and couldn’t add photos. And, what’s the point of a blog about art if there are no photographs of art…?

As I suspected, there is a lot going on in the world of outsider art in Montreal, Quebec. At least more than the rest of Canada. For those of you outside of Canada, the province of Quebec is an eastern province that is predominantly French-speaking. It has a long history with France and is still connected by more than language to that country. To visit a city in Quebec is like visiting a city in France – the language, culture, and food would fool you into thinking you were somewhere in Europe. In short, it is an incredible city for those who enjoy history and the arts.

The purpose of my trip was to connect with artists and galleries with whom I have been corresponding through my blog. I kept a frenetic pace for two weeks, as there was a lot to see, people to meet, and much to learn. One of the things I wanted to understand is how others in Canada define outsider art. Unfortunately, I have to report that the definition is as muddled there as here. However, because Quebec is still closely aligned with France, much credence is paid to the concept of art brut as it is understood in Europe – that is, art that is outside mainstream art and (perhaps) created by disabled artists or those who are not closely aligned to art culture. It is sometimes referred to as “art singulier” or “art insubordinaire” (insubordinate art).

I did not leave with a clear definition of outsider art, but I enjoyed long hours of conversation with art colleagues and collectors there. The blogs that follow will introduce you some amazing artists. Stay tuned.