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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Reliefs: Assemblage with Found Objects
Assemblage with Found Objects


Assemblage with Found Objects
after 1960
Simon Sparrow
carved and painted wood with found objects
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr.
1998.84.33
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"I don't copy. When I draw a person, I'm drawing the mystery form of that person." Simon Sparrow, "Paul Schmeizer examines the mystery art and ministry of Simon Sparrow," Raw Vision, No. 34

Simon Sparrow believed his images came from God, and before he started to paint, he would let his mind go blank so the spirit could enter. He described this process as "sweeter than anything on earth . . . I feel like I’m climbing." He did not paint representational portraits, but used a variety of found objects instead to create glittering images of people's souls. He related his method to West African traditions, in which the gods have "inner eyes" to see much more than just physical appearance. ("Paul Schmeizer examines the mystery art and ministry of Simon Sparrow," Raw Vision, No. 34)


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