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Wide Open at the Together Our Space Gallery

Posted on 08, July 2010

Wide Open, a brand new exhibition of outsider art, is on show at the Together Our Space Gallery, 12 Old Street, London, from 8th July until 27th August.

This two-month alternative summer show invites visitors to step out of the mainstream and into a wide open landscape of work created by 20 ‘outsider’ artists who, for reasons of mental health difficulties or other emotional distress, choose not to become involved with traditional arts institutions.

The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut ‘raw art’, a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe works created outside the boundaries of official culture. Originally, this art form was ‘discovered’ by psychiatrists amongst patients in the European mental institutions and insane asylums of the late 19th Century.

The Together Our Space Gallery is owned by Together, and all artists participating in the show are part of Studio Upstairs, a registered charity which runs therapeutic arts communities in London and Bristol. Studio Upstairs is managed by a committed team of practising artists, art therapists and psychotherapists. It is not a treatment centre providing art as an introspective pastime, but a place where people find that through creating art, both privately and publicly, they can transform their lives.

Douglas Gill, Director of Studio Upstairs, comments: “Studio Upstairs artists make no compromises when appearing in a public gallery. Occupying a unique place between the arts, health and education, the work has a major significance in contemporary culture.”

Christina Millare, Curator, Together Our Space Gallery, says: “The Together Our Space Gallery exists to give artists working within diverse social and cultural backgrounds the freedom to exhibit their work, ideas, thoughts and experiences without restriction.”

An exciting programme of events will be hosted at the Together Our Space Gallery across the show’s run. Entry to all of these is free, and everybody is welcome.