Larry Calkins

Paintings, Sculpture & Handmade Books

Larry Calkins began by making his mark in outsider art circles but quickly moved into the mainstream of the art world. Collected by the cognoscenti of naif art he is well known for his sculptures of clothing. These are fashioned from paper and cloth and are rubbed with wax, pigments and soot and hung from hand-wrought iron hangers reminiscent of Shaker and Amish aesthetics in their simplicity. Calkins also creates small paintings on wood or wood-mounted canvas. These works are primitive in style but highly complex and sophisticated in nature. At once engrossing and disturbing, Calkins' paintings call upon images and iconography associated with childhood but presented in a context that is almost nightmarish. Born in a small logging community in Oregon the artist carries his interest in childhood over into his series of sculptures which revolve around the same iconography. He has also created several complete “artist books.” His work is arresting and utterly different which accounts for Calkins' appeal and large following.