Henry Darger

by Kiko Matsing

Note: Archived from 2009

Stumbled upon: Henry Darger. Outsider Artist. Famously described by biographer/critic John M. MacGregor as “psychologically a serial killer”.

To sum up an oeuvre of hundreds of illustrations, scores of which are reproduced here: The naked Vivian Girls, and all female children, are generally depicted with little-boy penises, although this interesting detail seems never to be mentioned or explained in Darger’s text. Darger couldn’t draw, and usually didn’t try, instead tracing, arranging and coloring images clipped from magazines. His compositional gifts and skill as a colorist approached genius. Many of his paintings are rather charming and even childlike, while some are tableaux of tortures, massacres and mutilated bodies.

(from Gavin McNett, Salon.com, 23 Jul 2002)

Sounds like he formed the basis for that eccentric North Carolina painter in the movie Junebug. Sinister imagination beneath the veneer of childlike innocence.