The Outsiders

The woman who turned her house into a canvas, and other stories from the far fringes of the visual-art scene

"My style is just what it is," says Newman. "I just kind of jump all over the place. One way to describe it probably is to say that I've been working at the end of a rainbow. I think the world is colorful. Everything is colorful. And colors can change. There's no reason why you can't wake up one day and the grass would be red, the sky purple."

Driven to make art in the face of not just public neglect but actual scorn, Mari Newman is part charismatic, part intrinsic artist. According to Laurie Mauretts, curator at Gallery 360, which has begun showing Newman's work in the past few months, the artist has a backlog of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of images made over the past 30-plus years.

"Mari works a lot," says Mauretts. "She's great. Look at the pattern and the layering of depth. All of her images have a lot of presence. We are just amazed..."

Artist's workshop: Shawn Holster in his studio
Daniel Corrigan
Artist's workshop: Shawn Holster in his studio

Mauretts pauses when I ask if she has any insights on how the community at large has taken to Newman and her work.

"The neighborhood doesn't like her," says Mauretts. "It's unfortunate...but if anyone is a true artist, it's her. Her whole life is art. Everything about her is an artwork."

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