In the Gallery at Last: Fred Carter’s Artistic Journey

More than two decades after his death in 1992, Clintwood visual artist Fred Jerome Carter from Clintwood, Virginia is finally getting some much-deserved recognition in the art world. Carter was a prolific self-taught painter and wood sculptor who operated the Cumberland Museum in his hometown where he displayed cultural artifacts from the region as well as his own artwork. A 2013 major exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and a 2017 show at the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon are the latest evidence of the lasting importance of Carter’s work. This presentation will look at Carter’s art works with a view of beginning to place them into the theoretical contexts of their origins and what makes these works mostly “Outsider Art” or “Visionary Art.” The influence of his mentors and friends will be studied as well. My proposed paper is intended as a companion presentation to one by Sharon Hatfield, who will give a biographical sketch of Carter. It is requested that these presentations be scheduled during the same session.