Saturday, September 02, 2006

Book review- Blackstock's Collections

Blackstock's Collections features excerpts from the life's work of artist Gregory L. Blackstock, an autistic who's art involves the creation of meticulously detailed "visual lists" of everyday things. I bought this book a few weeks ago, and found it to be not only a treat visually, but interesting in that it gives us a rare look at the unique gifts and abilities often associated with autism.

The following is an excerpt from the book's inside cover:

MODERN LIFE IS AN EVER-ACCELERATING barrage of people, buildings, vehicles, creatures and things. How much can a curious mind take in? And what can it do with all the data? Gregory L. Blackstock, a retired Seattle pot washer, draws order out of the chaos with a pencil, a black marker and some crayons.
Blackstock is an autistic and an artistic savant. He creates visual lists of everything from wasps to hats to emergency vehicles to noisemakers. In the spirit of the Outsider Art of Henry Darger and Howard Finster, Blackstock makes art that is stirring in its profusion and detail and inspiring in its simple beauty. He has never recieved formal training, yet his renderings clearly and beguilingly show subtle differences and similarities- enabling the viewer to see, for example, the distinctive features of a dolly varden, a Pacific Coast steelhead cutthroat, and fourteen other types of trout.
Each collection is lovingly captured in Blackstock's unique hand with text that reflects facts from his research as well as his passions and preferences. Blackstock's Collection's contains over a hundred examples of his splendidly original taxonomy, offering a unique look inside the mind of a man making sense of his life through art.

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