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Outside in Ohio: A Century of Unexpected Genius 

July 26 to October 14, 2012

The Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery presents Outside in Ohio: A Century of Unexpected Genius from July 26 – October 14, 2012.

Outside in Ohio was produced by the Southern Ohio Museum in Portsmouth and guest curator Mark Chepp, retired director emeritus of the Springfield Museum of Art. The works in Outside in Ohio represent 100 years of creative expression by 18 Ohio artists who never studied art, never hung out in museums and never expected to become known as artists. Highlighting 20th and 21st century artwork in a variety of media, Outside in Ohio surveys the unconventional and distinct personal styles of some of Ohio's most unforeseen artists.

"Folk art and outsider art both happen outside the mainstream of the art world," said Chepp, "but folk art tends to develop within a group tradition, like Amish quilts, for example, while outsider artists spring up out of the blue working very much on their own."

Join the Riffe Gallery for the opening reception of Outside in Ohio on Thursday, July 26 from 5 – 7 p.m. Curator Chepp and folk art experts Duff Lindsay, Lindsay Gallery, Columbus, and Adrian Swain, Morehead State University folk art curator, will lead a free tour of the exhibition on Friday, July 27 from noon – 1 p.m.

A full-color exhibition catalog is available in the gallery for $20.00. Cash or check made out to the Ohio Arts Council only.

Artists in the show include (Ohio hometown noted): Ricky Barnes (Columbus), Ralph Bell (Columbus), Mary Borkowski (Sulphur Lick Springs), Russell (Smoky) Brown (Dayton), Ira Brukner (Yellow Springs), Henry Church (Chagrin Falls), Carole Estepp (Portsmouth), Harry George (Ben) Hartman (Springfield), William Hawkins (Columbus), Levent Isik (Columbus), Mary Frances Merrill (Flushing), Charles A. Owens (Columbus), Paul Patton (Rix Mills), Elijah Pierce (Columbus), Ernest (Popeye) Reed (Jackson), Anthony Joseph Salvatore (Youngstown), Chad Sines (Newark) and Mark Thomas (Chillicothe).

On Sunday, September 23, 2012 from 2 to 4 p.m., join the Riffe Gallery for a free family workshop. Arts Educator Dayna Jalkanen will lead participants in a folk art project of choice--the creation of a personalized wooden welcome sign, or an apron for use during a favorite hobby. All supplies are provided. Children ages 6 to 17 are welcome to participate with an adult companion. Registration is required as space is limited. Register online between July 26 and September 15 at

On Thursday, September 27, 2012 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., the Riffe Gallery will host a free poetry reading with National Award-winning Poet David Baker. An Open Mic session will follow. Register online in July to participate at

The Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery is located in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH. Admission is free. Gallery hours are Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, noon – 4 p.m. Closed Mondays and state holidays. Visit or phone 614/644-9624 for more information. Free group tours are available Wednesday through Friday throughout the run of each exhibition. To schedule a group tour contact Riffe Gallery director Mary Gray at or 614/728-2239.

Outside in Ohio: A Century of Unexpected Genius is presented by the Riffe Gallery with media support from CD101, CityScene, Ohio Channel, Ohio Magazine, Time Warner Cable and WCBE 90.5 FM. The exhibition was originally produced by the Southern Ohio Museum in Portsmouth, Ohio.

There are 18 images contained within this archive that are intended for Riffe Gallery publicity/educational use only. These images are protected by a photographic copyright that belongs to the Ohio Arts Council. They, therefore, are not in the public domain. Please contact the Ohio Arts Council directly if you wish to inquire about obtaining reproduction permission. Dimensions are h x w.
Image by Ricky Barnes
Image by Ralph Bell
Image by Mary Borkowski

Ricky Barnes
Barry Larkin #1, c. 1990
Carved and painted wood
18.5” x 13.5”
Courtesy of Lindsay Gallery, Columbus

Ralph Bell
Untitled, C.1990
Acrylic on canvas
Springfield Museum of Art

Mary Borkowski
Seventy Steps, c. 1971
Quilt thread
24” x 38”
Zanesville Museum of Art

Image by Smoky Brown
Image by Ira Brukner
Image by Henry Church

Russell "Smoky" Brown
Potpourri, 1989
Mixed media
25" x 15.5" x 7"
Collection of Mark Chepp

Ira Brukner
Motion, c. 2000-2008
Oil on panel
32" x 48"
Collection of Mark Chepp and Charlotte Gordon

Henry Church
Still Life, c.1880
Oil on canvas
26" x 38"
Springfield Museum of Art

Image by Carole Estepp
Image by Harry George Hartman
Image by William Hawkins

Carole Estepp
Crows and Flowers, c.2010
Hooked rug
32" x 80"
Private Collection

Harry George "Ben" Hartman
Charlie McCarthy, c.1930s
Cast concrete
Approx. 20" tall
Friends of the Hartman Rock Garden

William Hawkins
YMCA, 1981-1982
Paint, formica
39.5" x 29.5"
Springfield Museum of Art

Image by Levent Isik
Image by Mary Frances Merrill
Image by Charles A. Owens

Levent Isik
Red Canyon Appaloosa, c.1990s
Carved and painted wood
18.5" x 25.5"
Springfield Museum of Art, Gift of Barbara and Art Vogel

Mary Frances Merrill
Valley Dale, 1980s-1990s
Linoleum collage
9" x 11"
Springfield Museum of Art, Gift of Barbara and Art Vogel

Charles A. Owens
Adam and Eve, 1990s
Oil on masonite
36" x 48"
Collection of Jacob A. Berner

Paul Patton
Image by Elijah Pierce
Image by Ernest Reed

Paul Patton
The Muskingum County Fair, 1986
Acrylic on canvas
20" x 30"
Courtesy of Lindsay Gallery, Columbus

Elijah Pierce
Good Versus Evil, c.1930s
Wood, paint, cloth
31.5" x 21.5"
Springfield Museum of Art

Ernest "Popeye" Reed
Sphinx, no date
Carved stone
14.5" x 9" x 6"
Springfield Museum of Art, Gift of Barbara and Art Vogel

Image by Anthony Joseph Salvatore
Image by Chad Sines
Image by Mark Thomas

Anthony Joseph Salvatore
Untitled, 1989
Mixed media on paper
36" x 24"
Springfield Museum of Art

Chad Sines
Spiderman, 2010
Paint on wood
36" x 24"
Courtesy of the Artist

Mark Thomas
Shift Change, 2010
30" x 24"
Courtesy of Lindsay Gallery, Columbus




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