Bill Traylor is one of my favourite artists. Labelled as an outsider artist he never had formal training and didn’t pick up a pencil to draw until he was in his 80’s. He was born 1st April on 1884 on a slavery plantation and continued to work on the land after the absolution of slavery.
It was in his 80’s that he left the rural lifestyle and headed to the city of Montgomery. Whilst there he drew on scraps of paper vingettes of the people and animals he observed during his days.
It is thanks to the painter Shereen that we are able to see his drawings and paintings today as he avidly collected Bill Traylor’s work once he discovered him drawing on the streets.
There is a raw almost crude viscosity to his paintings, their simple but deeply expressive forms echo the essence of cave paintings, African textures or shamanic ritualistic drawings. There is a starkness to them, the thick dark marks of paint seem to hold a cavern of secrets.
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