German Village Gazette

Keny Galleries Exhibit focuses on folk and self-taught art

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This drawing by James Castle is one of many works in the Masters of Self-Taught Art exhibit at Keny Galleries.

More than 50 pieces of artwork from the folk and self-taught genres are on display at Keny Galleries through Feb. 24.

Masters of Self-Taught Art is open to the public to the public 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at the gallery, 300 E. Beck St.

Owner Tim Keny said the quality of work, mostly from 20th century Ohio artists, is impressive.

"We have a little different philosophy than other galleries: We feel it's essential to present the best quality examples you can," he said.

Keny said he worked with dealers and museums throughout the country to assemble the collection, which includes work from anonymous African-American woodcarvers, historic Amish quilt makers and Elijah Pierce, a former Columbus barbershop owner whose woodcarvings earned him international praise.

"Ohio, believe it or not, I would rank it in the top three states in the country for the number of folk and self-taught artists," Keny said.

Keny said he usually does one public exhibit a year, mostly focusing on regional talent.

This year, he decided to exhibit work from other self-taught artists -- including Patrocino Barela, James Castle and Charlie Willeto -- outside of Ohio.

"It's a blend," he said. "But the quality is key, common ground, for the artists.

"And they're well-respected in the world of folk and self-taught."