Plain & Fancy makes connections between anonymous, early American traditional artisans and contemporary American artists.
“Plain & Fancy” refers to competing styles held in tension in historical Pennsylvania. “The Plain” discouraged decoration and nurtured a simple aesthetic of utilitarian objects and a humble, unadorned lifestyle. “The Fancy” engaged more directly with decorative and visual pleasure. “The Fancy” was more associated with the secular world whereas “The Plain” reflected the disciplined world of the severe religious communities. Sometimes, these lifestyles would converge with one another and plain would become fancy, while fancy became plain. These tensions between the insider and the outsider, the worldly and the meditative, the decorative and the utilitarian continue in the arts as we know them today.