Photo Feature: “Neu Folk” at Le Qui Vive Gallery

by admin on October 30, 2013

Just as letterpress, broadsides, post office mail delivery and other modes of visual and material culture have been revived in various art exhibitions throughout the years in the Bay Area due to their threat of obsolescence from the fast-paced digital age, LeQuiVive Gallery & guest curator artist Max Kauffman’s “Neu Folk” group show explores a group of  artists from around the world whose revived interests in traditional art-making and celebration of rural subject matter and motifs has given rise to a new genre of contemporary art. Perhaps, too in light of our rapidly growing urban areas and increased use of technologically advanced tools to increase efficiency, artists who work within this movement aim to celebrate traditional techniques and traditions of making work by hand, and “done for the simple act of creation.”

Much of the contemporary New Folk traditions may be more presently seen in music, but Kauffman shows with his selection of artists not only locally, where it may be simply seen as a reaction against the prevalence of Silicon Valley and Social Media in the Bay Area, that this interest permeates throughout the visual arts internationally, from Australia’s Ghost Patrol to Oakland artist, Katy Horan. Like the letterpress, broadsides, and mail-art, Folk Art has also been perceived as having difficulties reaching a Fine Arts position, and “Neu Folk” at Le Qui Vive aims to change that perception, too. From oils, gouaches, to sculptures,  the artworks done in reverence of the methods of traditional craftsmen and borrow visual cues and subject matter from Folk Art elevates its status, and celebrates what many may only see as common practice, prompting viewers to take another look at “Neu Folk.”


“Neu Folk” will be at Le Qui Vive Gallery, 1525 Webster St. Oakland, through the month of November.