owensboro museumOWENSBORO, Ky. (1/10/18) — “Appalachian Spirit”, the exhibition of American Folk Art currently on view at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art has been extended through Feb. 4 to showcase new acquisitions received at the end of 2017.
Works by the late visual artist and puppet maker, Charley Kinney (1906-1991) of Flemingsburg, are featured and include a major painting of “The Story of Noah’s Ark” and “Mountain Cat” depicting a stylized image of an eastern Kentucky mountain lion.
Kinney was a member of the famed Kinney family of three artists including his brother Noah and Noah’s wife Hazel, also represented in the museum’s collection.
The new acquisitions also feature a musical percussion instrument in the form of a fantasy “tree animal”’ a part of a larger collection of instruments made by “Kentucky’s Gourd Lady”, the late Minnie Black (1899-1996). Black, famous for creating sculpture from gourds grown in her backyard in East Bernstadt, Kentucky, received national recognition on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Appalachian Spirit features some of the most prominent naïve artists of the mid to late 20th century and celebrates the museum’s collection as an important documentary on this aspect of American art.
The collection was acquired to showcase the diversity of creativity expressed by contemporary artists and craftsmen working outside the academic tradition and explores the innovative styles, techniques and nontraditional media used by unschooled artists and craftsmen. Showcased are paintings in a variety of media, sculpture in wood, metal and fiber, dioramas and furniture.
Working outside the constraints and expectations of the professional art world, these artists have developed signature styles and established a body of work which scholars, critics and curators often struggle to categorize. Many of these artists have earned wide recognition in contemporary art circles and some have achieved a permanent place in American art history.
Major artists of the genre represented in the collection include Howard Finster, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mose Tolliver and S. L. Jones from the southeastern states and the southwest’s famed santeros Luis Tapia, Marie Romero Cash and David Nabor Lucero. Celebrated Kentuckians include Edgar Tolson, Minnie and Garland Adkins, Ronald and Jessie Cooper, the Kinney Family, Tim Lewis and Denzil Goodpaster.
Several area artists who have achieved recognition working in this genre are the Rev. Oda Shouse, Gary Hargis, Don Lacy and the late Margaret Hudson Ross, Mary Anderson Cayce, Judge George Triplett III and Judge Robert M. Short.
The collection has been acquired by the museum over the last three decades through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folk Art Society of America and gifts from important private collectors including Ramona Lampell founder of the famed O’Appalachia Collection; the late Dr. William G. Ward and his wife Nancy Ward; the late Dr. and Mrs. John Miller and many of the artists in the exhibition.
Admission is free. Museum hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Guided tours may be arranged by calling the museum at 270-685-3181. A publication on the museum’s Folk Art Collection is provided free to school touring groups. Tours are a minimum of $50 for up to 25 participants, with an addition of $2 per each additional person.

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