Way Out There: The Art of Southern Backroads

2 March–19 May 2019

Exhibition Overview

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Eddie Owens Martin (St. EOM), Pasaquoyan Man with Ritual Headdress and Levitation Suit, ca. 1965–1975, enamel and beads on concrete over wire mesh.

Collaboratively organized by the museum’s renowned photography and folk and self-taught art departments, this exhibition celebrates the convergence of contemporary American photography, literature and self-taught artists. The exhibition explores the rich exchange between self-taught and avant-garde artists, bringing it to life through photographs that reveal the brilliant vitality of self-taught artists through images of their homes and yards, presented with unique artworks that have been preserved from those places.

Way Out There is inspired by a shelved and forgotten manuscript for an off-beat guidebook of Southern self-taught artists written by the late poet and publisher Jonathan Williams titled “Walks to the Paradise Garden.” The book spotlights more than 100 of the South’s many backroads artists, whom Williams visited during extensive road trips in the 1980s and 1990s with the photographers Guy Mendes and Roger Manley.

Way Out There will consist of sculptures, paintings and drawings by self-taught artists in the High’s collection, alongside many rarely seen photographs by Mendes and Manley. Artists including Eddie Owens Martin, Sam Doyle, J.B. Murray, Edgar Tolson, Georgia Blizzard, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Howard Finster, Thornton Dial, and many others will be represented.

(Photo courtesy of High Museum of Art, Atlanta.)

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