In October, American Folk Art & Framing (AFA) celebrates the life of one of its artists, Rudolph Valentino Bostic, who passed away in June. The works comprising Fond Farewell will be available for viewing and purchasing online on Tuesday, October 5. The show opens in the gallery on Thursday, October 7, and will run through Thursday, October 21. A self-taught visionary artist, Bostic lived in Savannah, GA, and his work is part of the permanent collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
“Rudy’s earliest artwork was painted on the walls of his Sunday School classroom, giving the world a glimpse into the beautiful mind of the otherwise withdrawn child,” says Betsey-Rose Weiss, AFA gallery owner. As an adult, Bostic saw visions in surprising places, including on the boxes delivered to the bakery where he worked. His boss at the bakery was amazed at his creations and helped him find representations in galleries around the south, which is how she discovered his work, Weiss says.
“Rudy’s deep visual imagination and artistic abilities opened many eyes to the concept of ‘visionary art,’” she says, “things not seen but felt. While he painted on humble cardboard, his vivid colors and bold Sharpie outlines have the feel and glow of a stained glass window. His depictions of saints, pilgrims and angels were the foundation of his inspiration, but his imagination was also captured by mythology and, increasingly, by his dream states.”
Bostic’s sister Caroline invited Weiss to choose 12 of his pieces from the family’s collection to share with AFA’s friends and supporters. “We felt we needed to be surrounded once again with his beauty, and Caroline’s offer was so generous,” Weiss says.
Bostic checked out art books from the library, studying and borrowing elements of style from the Old Masters. His supplies consisted of Sharpie markers, acrylic and metallic paints, and recycled cardboard. “His use of inexpensive materials reminds us of other southern self-taught artists such as Jimmy Lee Sudduth or Sam Doyle,” says Weiss. “But his flamboyance, his breadth of subject matter and his varied artistic influences put Rudy Bostic in a class by himself.”
American Folk Art & Framing is located at 64 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday. For more information, visit AmeriFolk.com or call 828.281.2134.