Silicon Valley recently caught up. The “Drawing the Inner Terrain: Self-Taught Artists” exhibit at the Palo Alto Art Center was dedicated to Derrel DePasse, former president of Blauvelt Group of Palo Alto. She was a self-taught expert in outsider art who died unexpectedly last summer before the publication of her acclaimed new book, Traveling the Rainbow: The Life and Art of Joseph Yoakum (University Press of Mississippi).
Yoakum is known for his wild visionary landscapes. “We all assumed he’d made up these imaginary landscapes,” says John Ollman, a Philadelphia art dealer, “but she followed his roaming and found that he’d actually been to most of the places.
” That a tech executive transformed herself into an outsider art expert doesn’t surprise Signe Mayfield, curator of the Silicon Valley show. Like many, Mayfield sees a link between twin cultural explosions: technology and outsider art. “Art that has the human touch takes on greater significance when we’re so surrounded by sleek modernity and technology,” she says.