The GINA Gallery (Gallery of International Naive Art) occupies a beautiful space on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (454 Columbus Avenue, to be precise). Athough “naive” might sound pejorative, the work of these untrained painters catches the eye and won’t let it go.
What caught my eye most recently is a lively and affectionate painting by the Swedish artist Per-Olof Olsson, called BAKERY JAZZ, reproduced here courtesy of the gallery:
The painting captures the happy energy of the players, and if you get close enough, you can smell the coffee and sugar.
Here are two more, not precisely about jazz. Their ostensible subject is the tango, but that dance combines ritual, sexuality, rhythm, and heat — subjects hardly alien to jazz! The artist is the Argentinian Eduardo Ungar, and the first one is called TANGO SHOW:
and here’s the companion piece, TANGO LESSON:
Vivid, energetic, hot!
The whole classification of an art form as “naive” made me think that jazz was, in its formative stage, heroically naive: none of the players went to the conservatory or took voice lessons. They learned by playing, by being, by doing — and although I don’t discount a formal musical education, it seems that some of the best instruction comes from experience on the bandstand and off.
So do visit GINA in person if you can, or check the gallery’s website at www.ginagallerynyc.com., and feel the energetic vitality of these and many other paintings.
Update (as of November 2012): sadly, the gallery closed many months ago — to be replaced by an upscale children’s clothing store. No comment.