Fred Breebaart's “Strawberry Fields” Fred Breebaart's “Strawberry Fields” Fred Breebaart's “Strawberry Fields” (Photo: GINA Gallery)

The upbeat art reaching a global audience

'Naïve art' requires little interpretation to appreciate its simplicity and vibrance.

The art world is known for trying to find meaning in everything. There is one class, however, that operates in stark contrast to this thinking in that it interprets very little. Its only pursuit is a vivid aesthetic and a bright, lush color palette. While the art establishment gives stylistic points for such moods as despair, depression and anguish, it is this so-called "naïve art" that seeks to celebrate the human narrative and is, by and large, optimistic. 

Dan Chill, an American-born lawyer who runs the GINA Gallery in Tel Aviv and has built an impressive catalogue of naive art online, told From The Grapevine that naïve art is all about the immediacy of the image. “Naïve art is not about creating artificial provocations. It represents the beautiful spirit of the artists … she dips her brush in her heart."

Bernadette Robidet, “A Meeting of Flamingos” 2014Bernadette Robidet, “A Meeting of Flamingos” 2014 (Photo: GINA Gallery)

The GINA (Gallery of International Naïve Art) is committed to featuring naïve artists from across the globe. It was founded by Chill, who developed a love for the form while on a business trip to Honduras in the 70s. 

To Chill and other lovers of the genre, naïve art conjures verdant valleys, happy hamlets, exotic jungles and pristine native women. This is what some might call folkloristic art – a celebration of simplicity, abundance and hope.

Fausto Perez, "Tranquility" 2014Fausto Perez, "Tranquility" 2014 (Photo: GINA Gallery)

Naïve art brings to mind such names as Grandma Moses aka Anna Mary Robertson, Rosina Becker Do Valle and Ana Maria Dias. The style is prevalent and most popular in Central and South America, and has also gained a following in the United States, Europe and Asia.

While naïve art can be traced back to Henri Rousseau and even to Gauguin during his Tahitian period, it was better known then as primitivism. Only during the early 1930s did the word naïve become commonly used to refer to the form. 

Francesco Maiolo's “Landscape with Farmer”Francesco Maiolo's “Landscape with Farmer” (Photo: GINA Gallery)

Today the GINA Gallery boasts pieces from Americans such as Janice Kennedy and Sharon Ascherl, and is currently featuring a show of Italian artists. And while the naïve artists don't get the sort of attention that Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst might, there's certainly a deep appreciation for the work they do, reflected in the fact that the gallery and website cater to an eclectic audience from around the world. 

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