Outside/Outsider – Group Show 05/21/21


Artists confronting Mental Illness
an exhibition in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month
Curated by Karen Gormandy & Issa Ibrahim

Outside/Outsider will be on view at Local Project from May 21 through June 13, 2021. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with LIC-A and Local Project in recognition of Mental Health Awareness month. The exhibition features work by an array of artists with a lived experience of mental illness.  Outside/outsider will also feature community workshops, a panel discussion and a film festival to facilitate a dialogue around neurodiversity, its impact on the creative process and the lives of the artists. The exhibition is a contemplative, mindful healing event.

The featured artists share their work and their perspectives around the influence of mental illness on their artistic practice and overall wellbeing.  Artists on view include Matt Cauley, Dino Blanche, Natalie Woodson, Chasity Colon, Kaiser Kamal, Jody McDonald, Eva Brandenburg, Junyi Liu, Villo Varga, Anthony Newton, Evelyn Gardiner, Kim Zack, Bryan Greene, Sarah King, Susan Spangenberg, Pamela and Angela Rogers, Alyson Vega, Andrea Segatto, Kelly Han, Nancy Reghay, Hisayasu Takashio, and Helena Holland Berger, The Film festival includes work by Alyson Vega, Eugenia Pigassiou,Andrew Koloski,Susan Spangenberg and Adele Shtern.

“The pieces chosen for this show demonstrate the talent, focus and intentionality of artists qualified to stand shoulder to shoulder with “insider artists.”  Each piece clearly shows that living with a mental illness should not bar any of them admittance into the world of being recognized as artists of merit. Some of these works are both familiar in their aesthetic and at the same time new.  Each artist has honed and learned and presented an unmistakably individual signature piece from the hauntingly to the unapologetic:  from the power and intensity of Anthony Newton’s I AM GOD to the intimacy of Sarah King’s Kick in the Ribs II, 2021 The work in Outside / Outsider will move, inspire, provoke, please, tease, awe and even cause discomfort, whatever it is, it is intentional and you cannot ignore it.  The artists know what they want to say and say it.” – Karen Gormandy

“It is such a pleasure to present the artworks in this Outside/Outsider exhibition. Most of the artists are new to me and bring fresh perspectives to the preconceived ideas of what is Outsider Art, or art produced by someone with a diagnosis/mental health issues. As someone with the firm belief that in this sick society we are all affected, traumatized and even slightly (or not so slightly) insane, it is important, if not essential to knock down the parameters of exclusivity, snobbery, “art-speak” and bullshit that separate and marginalize. I am in favor of a more inclusive and real appraisal of art made by the mentally ill and a re-appraisal of the Outsider Art genre as a whole. This show brings you established Outsider Art fixtures, overlooked contemporaries, fresh voices and hidden gems- paintings, sculptures, films and music that I hope will demonstrate the breadth and scope of artists living with mental illness beyond the accepted and at times limited palette of what is known as Outsider Art.”- Issa Ibrahim

Background of Curators:

Karen Gormandy is the  Director for Fountain House Studio. She began as a volunteer with the gallery 10 years ago when her son, a Fountain House member, introduced her to the gallery.  Along with an intrepid group of determined artists she saw the growth of the studio program from two trays of markers, pens, pencils and a few tubes of acrylic paint to a full blown fully equipped art studio in Long Island City.  She is a former board member for NAMI New York City, NAMI New York state and NAMI Harlem and is also a literary agent at Harold Ober Associates who proudly represent the estate of Langston Hughes.  She attended the High School of Art & Design, has a bachelor’s degree in film from Montana State University and received her master’s degree in creative writing at Manhattanville College, all of these disciplines now serve to enrich the experience of offering guidance, support and education to the artists of Fountain House.  She currently facilitates Fountain House’s virtual studio program which includes art history, technique and lively artists discussions.

Issa Ibrahim is a graduate of New York City’s High School of Art and Design, and studied at the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League. He was institutionalized at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center’s Living Museum, where he reclaimed his life and found meaning as an artist, musician, writer, activist, and 25-year artist-in-residence. Issa is the author of The Hospital Always Wins: A Memoir, published in 2016 by Chicago Review Press. The book was met with laudatory reviews leading to interviews on NPR and other radio outlets, international press, and features including coverage in O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine.He is an active member-artist of Fountain House Gallery.


Matt Cauley
Dino Blanche
Natalie Woodson
Chasity Colon
Kaiser Kamal
Jody MacDonald
Eva Brandenburg
Junyi Liu
Villo  Varga
Anthony Newton
Evelyn Gardiner
Kim Zack
Bryan Greene
Sarah King
Susan Spangenberg
Pamela and Angela Rogers
Alyson Vega
Andrea Segatto
Kelly Han
Nancy Reghay
Hisayasu Takashio
Helena Holland Breger

Film Festival
Alyson Vega
Eugenia Pigassiou
Andrew Koloski
Susan Spangenberg
Adele Shtern

Performance opening for the Film Festival
Neesa Sunar

(Covid-19 health conditions  permitting)

On View (Virtual and in person):

May 21 – June 13, 2021

Opening Reception: May 21, 2021 5-9pm

Timed Tickets will be available on Eventbrite

Panel Discussion: Saturday May 22nd, 4-5pm (If you missed the panel discussion you can see it here)

Family Workshop with Gail Meyers: Please register here

Film Festival: June 11 @ 7:30pm (In person & Live Stream)


Local Project, 11-27 44th Rd,  Long Island City, NY 11101
Gallery Hours:

Thursday, By appointment

Friday – Sunday, 12 – 6pm

Thank you to our venue partner, LOCAL PROJECT