Anna Zemánkóvá was born in Olomouc, Moravia in 1908. Although she possessed a passion for drawing at a young age, her father wanted her to follow a more lucrative career and discouraged her creative exploration. At his suggestion, she studied dentistry from 1923-26 and then worked as a dental technician until 1933. At age 25, she married First Lieutenant Bohumir Zemanek and stopped her artistic practice. The young couple moved to the town of Brno, a major manufacturing center, and had four children. Although one son died at age four, two sons and one daughter are still living.

The war years, with the Nazi occupation, were difficult; by 1948, with the Communists in firm control, the Zemaneks moved to Prague. Anna spent her time caring for her family, isolating herself from the external political turmoil. Her passions were listening to classical music and reading; she preferred mysteries and, above all, the von Daniken books about aliens visiting earth. During the 1950s, as she approached menopause, her personality changed: she began to have ‘fits’ and periods of severe depression. In 1960, her son Bohumil suggested that she should try a hobby to take her mind off her troubles and refocus her energies now that her children were grown. Knowing she lacked art training, yet remembering reports of an earlier interest, he brought her pastels and paints. She ignored the latter, but began drawing with the pastels, and immediately impressed him with her efforts. He encouraged her, and brought her quality materials with which to work.

Anna Zemánkóvá died in 1986 in Prague. Since the start of her drawing career, her works have been shown in multiple exhibitions across the world, including in the Museum de Stadshof in Zwolle, Intuit in Chicago, Hayward Gallery in London, Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, the Irish Museum of Art in Dublin, Edward Thorp Gallery in New York, and Cavin-Morris Gallery in New York. Her work is in the permanent collections of Collection d’Art Brut in Switzerland, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Dow Jones in New York, Museum of American Folk Art in New York, The Petullo Collection in Milwaukee, Outsiders Archive in London, Les Halle St. Pierre in Paris, and Collection abcd in Paris.

One of my favorite artists.


Visionary artist/ retired Newark police officer Kevin Blythe Samson’s Crain’s cover from March 2016 @cavinmorrisgallery

Space Ghost’s Visions: George Lowe

George Lowe bridges the worlds of folk/Outsider art and contemporary art as few other artists do.

Susan Mitchell Crawley, former Curator of Folk Art for the High Museum, Atlanta, writes: “He has collected art since he was very young, beginning with prints and drawings by prominent Modern and Contemporary artists and later developing an enthusiasm for vernacular art.” Lowe’s collection of the work of Georgia visionary folk artist Howard Finster is among the finest in the world, and he has lent many pieces from his personal collection to museum exhibitions.

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Above: Lunch on Stagg Field.  This piece was included in “Lands Beyond,” an exhibition of visionary landscapes curated by author Tom Patterson, in Spring 2015 at the Bascom Center for the Visual Arts, Highlands, NC.

Crawley continues: “In the course of this collecting career he has seen and absorbed much. Despite his long involvement with [fine] art, Lowe shows more kinship with the self-taught artists…than with the mainstream artists he first collected, for his fabulous landscapes refer more to themselves and the territory inside his head than to the terrain of Western art. Lowe’s great discovery in his vernacular collection may have been how to explore his own imaginings freely and express them forcefully.”

George Lowe The FEMA Trailer of Forbidden Love (2)

Left: The FEMA Trailer of Forbidden Love (watercolor and ink on paper, 8″ x 5″)

Unlike the work of most other folk art enthusiasts-turned- artists, Lowe’s work is never imitative or derivative of the self-taught masters he admires. Instead, it is itself inimitable—futuristic, fantastical, funny, a touch manic and more than a bit obsessive, just like the artist himself. Fans of the cult 1990s absurdist animated/live-action late-night show Space Ghost: Coast to Coast might feel an uncanny kinship; the title character was played by Lowe, who also happens to be an accomplished humorist and voice actor. The Space Ghost: Coast to Coast DVDs are treasured by his fans (or, as he calls them, his “TV friends”), as are his recordings Space Ghost’s Musical Barbeque: Featuring 25 Hickory-Smoked Harmonies and Space Ghost’s Surf and Turf: With 22 Tiki-Torched Tunes.

Lowe’s work is included in the permanent collections of the High Museum of Art (Atlanta) and the St. Petersburg (FL) Museum, as well as the corporate collection of CNN/Turner Broadcasting.

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The artist with The Road to the Zobanian Consulate, a piece in the permanent collection of the St. Petersburg (FL) Museum of Fine Art.


Escape Into Life: Artist Watch

Rebecca Mahoney, “George Lowe.” The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), April 23, 2004.

James Casey, “Interview with the Ghost.” Arizona Daily Wildcat, November 20, 1997.

Catherine Fox, “Kaleidoscopic View of Imagination,” Atlanta-Journal Constitution, April 17, 2009



Jim Collins

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Jim Collins with his sculpture “Bear Family” (Corten steel and cast bronze) outside Chivaree Gallery (Cashiers, NC) in 2014.

Renowned sculptor and multimedia artist Jim Collins has exhibited internationally and around the United States for decades. Ask any art lover from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and chances are they’ve got a soft spot in their heart for Jim Collins. Collins designed and fabricated many public sculptures in their city, including nine “Mile-Marker” pieces along the River Walk and Volumes, the dazzling steel fountain outside the Bicentennial Library. Stainless-steel sculpture, often in color and usually in silhouette, is Collins’ calling card, and he has created sculptures for commissions at locations including the Nashville International Airport; the Number 1 Fire Station in Plano, TX; roadsides in Limerick, Ireland, for the Limerick County Council’s public art program; three villages in County Louth, Ireland; and Kilkenny, Ireland, where he created ten sculptures by invitation for the Kilkenny Arts Festival in 2004. He says his sculpture style is best exemplified by his long-running series, “The Watcher.”

Recently, Collins has started an offshoot of the “Watcher” series, “The Walking Watcher.”

Collins’ mixed-media work, meanwhile, creates dynamic visual fields with antique photographs, documents, vintage product packaging, textiles and carefully chosen frames.

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Pictured: “The Banyan Family” 2014, and detail (below)

Peter Baldaia of the Huntsville Museum of Art (AL), which hosted a solo exhibition of Collins’ mixed-media work in 2007, wrote, “Collins carefully constructs his evocative box collages from found and recycled materials to suggest arresting, delightful, unexpected narratives…some pay tribute to mythology, others comment on societal ills, and many become pure flights of fancy. All deliver a cornucopia of visual delights that suggest the open-ended imagination of theater as well as the rich tradition of storytelling in the South.”

The artist says: “All of my collages are akin to a theater where I present the stage and the characters.  It is my story during the fabrication and is open to different stories when presented to the viewer.  Actually, the art is not complete until someone sees the work and reacts to it, either by making up a story, reading the artist’s statement, or just walking away.”

Collins’ mixed-media work toured Ireland in a 2011 solo show, Irish Encounters.  Collins is fond of exploring his Irish heritage in the subject matter of his work.  After I closed Chivaree Gallery, I included a new series of larger-scale collages by Collins in “Appropriation Art,” the exhibition I curated for the Bascom Center for the Visual Arts (Highlands, NC) in Spring 2015. Collins had seen a sign in an antiques shop in Georgia reading “Evaluation Center for Disturbed Women,” which he said triggered the idea for a mixed-media series on the Irish myth of Étaín.  He included the sign in the piece below, The Wooing of Étaín (2014).


Collins provides a brief outline of the myth:

 Étaín (AY TEEN) surpassed all other women of her time in beauty and gentleness and thus was an object of jealousy. The Fairy King Midir (MIDER) was the husband of Fúamnach (FRONACH) but fell in love with Étaín. Fúamnach got so jealous she struck her magic wand on Étaín, transforming her rival into a pool of water, then into a worm, and finally a scarlet butterfly that was blown over the ocean for seven years. When she was able to return to Ireland she fell into a glass of wine which was drunk by a woman who longed for a child. In this way Étaín was miraculously reborn.

 After being reborn Étaín married the High King of Ireland.  Midir made an attempt to win Étaín back, going to see the king and challenging him to many games of fidchell. The king won all but the last, when Midir won and asked a kiss from Étaín as his prize. He got his kiss.  But, Mider turned himself and Étaín into swans and left the royal residence through the chimney. The king did not accept the loss of his wife and pursued them. Then Midir used his magical powers to turn fifty women into duplicates of Étaín, offering the king the possibility to choose only one.  In trying to find Étaín among the clones, the King chose his own daughter by accident, fathering a daughter by his own daughter in the process.

 If Collins’ collages represent theater sets for the stories that unfold therein, as he has suggested, these pieces are like a tragic Wagner opera re-staged in the Victorian era.  Collins encourages viewers to use his pieces to create their own version of the myth.

Collins’ work is the subject of the catalog Jim Collins: Art, 1963-2003, published by Two Hands Art Publishing. An addendum to the book was published in 2009. He is also included in the volume Art of Tennessee (Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville, 2003), an historical survey ranging from the earliest Native American populations to the present. He is listed in the Dictionary of American Sculptors and Who’s Who in American Art. Collins holds an M.F.A. in sculpture from Ohio University and was a Professor of Fine Art at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga from 1966 until 1983.

#davidhammons / Five Decades at Mnuchin Gallery through May 27. Don’t miss it. #taxidermy #TabbyDrum #catstagram #cats #tabbycat #tabbycatsofinstagram (at Mnuchin Gallery)

From the gallery archive: Patrick Taylor

PATRICK TAYLOR operates Taylor Pottery in Highlands, North Carolina, where he produces functional stoneware and expressive forest creature jugs, his own interpretation of the Face Jug form. For the past several years, he has been studying the pottery heritage and ceramic artists of the Appalachian region. He incorporates both ceramic traditions and natural materials from the Southern Appalachians into his work, and he gathers much of his own clay from stream beds in the area.



Left: Razorback Hog with Snake, 2014

Taylor has been involved in studio pottery and sculpture for thirty years and has been a juried member of the former Georgia Designer Craftsman and the Georgia Mountain Crafts Associations. (He hails originally from south Georgia.) Prior to moving to North Carolina, Taylor was the founding Chair of the Department of Visual Arts at Kennesaw State University. He retired from Kennesaw in 1999, after seventeen years of service. Taylor’s work is in numerous private and corporate collections including King and Spalding Law Firm of Atlanta, and he and his studio are cited in the Craft Trails Guidebook of Western North Carolina, published by Handmade in America. Taylor is also a magistrate judge in the 30th Judicial District of North Carolina. UPDATE: Retired from his magistrate post, Taylor now serves as the Mayor of Highlands, NC.