Camel

Finster, Howard
1999.12
Gift of John and Diane Balsley

We can be absolutely certain that Reverend Howard Finster hailed from parts unknown, even if those parts resemble rural southern U.S.A. The mystery surrounding him expands with each piece of art, signed “Howard Finster from God” or “Howard Finster Man of Visions” or “Howard Finster World’s Minister Of Folk Art Church Inc,” among other outlandish and intriguing things. The spectacle of accumulation is as powerful as the sheer otherness of Finster’s vision, which exists solely to transmit the word of God as Finster hears and sees it, and is frequented by a cast of characters such as Presidents Washington and Eisenhower, Henry Ford, Coca-Cola, Satan and, of course, Elvis Presley. His work has its own tractor-enamel shine, it’s own lingua franca that expresses a depth of belief most of us sinners are plain unaware of, a belief filled with great joy and equal gravity. Whether or not the work touches us, we can also be absolutely certain that Reverend Howard Finster holds devout belief in the word of God as communicated through the work of Howard Finster, and that belief—however foreign it may feel—is worth seeing.—Damien James, New Art City, 2010

1916–2001
1991
F - Photography
marker and paint on shaped wood panel
American
37 x 52 inches