The Anabella Scondi Collection at Katzman Contemporary

If, as the curatorial statement asserts, the late Ms. Scondi (1921-2005) "rejected public validation of her efforts" she would presumably be mortified by the current show at Katzman Contemporary (an austere, beautiful, modern space located in a rundown residential neighbourhood several blocks off St. Clair West at Old Weston Road).

"...ultimately it wasn’t until she retired from her post at the station and retreated to her cabin in the woods [in rural northern Ontario] that she was able to embark upon the many artistic investigations that would fully occupy her remaining days and years."

Scondi's lengthy self-imposed exile is far more engaging and appealing, to me, than any of the work on display. Her homages and assemblages and creations seem secondary, the fruit of a larger work:  withdrawal from society. Self-imposed exile ("prolonged quietude") is a very deliberate and very difficult performance piece, completely of another time - a time perhaps lost permanently - when fame could actually disinterest a person. It might seem clear that Scondi retreated in order to make art, but it's not that clear to me. Retreat is itself an artistic act. But in any case, I wish millions more would devote their retirements to cultivating an artistic practice of the Scondi variety.

Because she had no formal/traditional art education or connections to the art scene, she is considered an 'outsider artist' but one has "to wonder whether the concept of outsider art has lost all sense:

After all, outsider does have a nice little paradox embedded in it: for an artist to be considered an outsider, he or she must first be brought inside the professional art world by an insider. In other words, everyone the art world considers an outsider is de facto an insider. The standard outsider biography thus includes not only a traumatic (typically motherless) childhood, a history of institutionalization (orphanage, asylum, prison), a stunted education, a subsistence job, and an intense drive to make art, but also a discovery story, a tale of someone with cultural connections who brings the outsider in." 

Though Scondi rejected fame, here she is, having a solo show at a highbrow Toronto gallery. And being written about.