A chance encounter with self-taught artist Annie Hooper while on a hitchhiking trip in 1970 changed the course of Roger Manley’s life. After meeting her, he began seeking out, befriending, and photographing scores of other self-taught artists and art environments throughout the South, returning often to record their expansion, and occasionally their decline. Manley has begun the process of donating to SPACES the thousands of resulting slides, photographs, and files of archival materials he gathered over more than 40 years.
Roger is currently director and senior curator of the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State University. He has worked as a guest curator for dozens of institutions, including three major exhibitions for the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. His many books and collaborations include Self-Made Worlds, Signs and Wonders, and most recently, Walks to the Paradise Garden, with Jonathan Williams and Guy Mendes, published in conjunction with the 2019 exhibition, “Way Out There: The Art of Southern Backroads” at the High Museum in Atlanta.