The art world will never run out of ‘outsider’ artists to bring into the fold. The fun is to guess the criteria. Was the artist a natural truth-seer? A village shaman? Or just quirkily crazy?
With Odoteres Ricardo de Ozias, it could be all the above. The canvases are uniform in size, their colours from that vibrant ‘folk’ pallet, and many depict carnivals or acts of fervent religious worship. Perhaps this is what happens when a Brazilian railway clerk turns evangelical preacher. These images are all perfectly charming even to a viewer possessed of a cold anthropological eye.
The troubling part is in realising just how far ‘outside’ these ideas are. Angelic visitations and demonic possessions were daily subjects for Ricardo de Ozias, but so were communal gatherings and celebrations. This is the kind of arte povera that could hardly come out of a 21st century art school.