Hatton Gallery at Colorado State University to Showcase Outsider, Folk Art

Colorado and Fort Collins residents will have a chance to go inside the world of a self-taught artist as Robert E. Smith’s works go on display in Colorado State University’s Hatton Gallery from Jan. 31 to March 11.

Smith, who hails from Springfield, Mo., travels the country by Greyhound bus and will be making a stop in Fort Collins for the opening reception of "Inside the World of Robert E. Smith" from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 31 in the Hatton Gallery, located in Colorado State’s Visual Arts Building. A folk artist, Smith draws inspiration for his paintings from his bus trips and his imagination, and he has established a national following for his whimsical, narrative work. His experiences are translated into dense story paintings with a cast of recurring characters, all tied together by a keen sense of design.

The exhibit will feature new paintings by Smith. His work is an example of outsider art, a genre consisting of works created completely outside formal or academic training, said Linny Frickman, curator of the Hatton Gallery.

"It’s important for young artists here on campus to be able to see and understand traditions outside the academic tradition and to understand that both outsider art and folk art have had a tremendous impact on the development of modern art," Frickman said. "Throughout the 20th century, many artists, from the German Expressionists to the Cubists to artists like Dubuffet, have found inspiration from these types of work, seeing them as forms of unadulterated expressionism. Smith continues in this vein and gives us a completely new glimpse into our world."

Hatton Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturdays. All exhibits and events are free and open to the public.

During the Smith show, Colorado State will host events featuring visiting curator Annie Carlano March 1-4. Carlano, curator of European and American collections at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, N.M., will give a public lecture at 6 p.m. March 1 in the Lory Student Center Theatre. She also will host brown-bag lunch discussions at noon March 2 and March 4 in the Hatton Gallery. Carlano’s areas of expertise include international folk art and textiles. Carlano, who curated the "Vernacular Visionaries" outsider exhibit in Santa Fe, will speak about contemporary, international outsider art.

In conjunction with Carlano’s visit, Colorado State’s Department of Art will display works on loan from the Department of Design and Merchandising’s Historic Costume Collection. The display is of Guatemalan huipiles, or blouses, that are a significant part of a woman’s national costume in Guatemala. The huipiles can be used to identify the specific village of the weaver, the wearer’s social status, marital status, religious background and authority.

For more details on upcoming exhibits at the Hatton Gallery, visit the Web at http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/Art/ or call 491-1989.