Two new installations at SOMACC

Joseph Pratt - PDT Contributor

The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center (SOMACC) recently welcomed the community to the opening of two new exhibitions, which show the diverse talents of artists Bruce New and Ed Charney.

Like many of the gallery openings hosted by SOMACC, the artists made themselves available for the afternoon to speak of their work and meet locals.

Entertainment was also made available by the museum’s Cirque d’Art Theatre, in which they showcased an excerpt from their upcoming fall production, “Emerald City,” which had yet to be seen by anyone in the public.

SOMACC Artistic Director Charlotte Gordon said she was pleased, not only with the final products shown in the Kricker and Richards galleries, but the educational and cultural opportunities the artists presented at the opening event.

“The museum is always proud to bring artists to Portsmouth from other places,” Gordon explained. “It is a chance to not only hear artists talk about their process and concepts, but to also ask questions and interact with them.”

In the Kricker Gallery, the work of Bruce New, a Kentucky visionary artist, is featured. His chosen medium is paper collage, and his works are outsider art in the fullest sense of the term.

New is self-taught and has secured his place among the new generation of self-taught artists. He has received national attention and the museum administration is excited to showcase his talent.

According to Gordon, “They [his works] are intricate and reflect an obsessiveness. They explode with color as his artistic vision is fully realized.”

New’s wife is a dominant character in his work, in which he frequently titles her as his muse.

According to Gordon, his work reflects his deep knowledge of ancient Greek art.

In his work, his wife, “The Muse,” is often depicted as a centaur-like creature and appears on a pedestal, or elevated within the picture plane. She is the hero of the narrative. New presents himself as “The Artist,” often with brushes and tools surrounding him.

In the Richards Gallery, housed in the mezzanine of the museum, the paintings of Ed Charney are showcased.

“To say these canvases are of clouds is to do them a disservice,” Gordon said in a released statement. “Charney is a master of light and depicting light through atmospheres, clouds, and open sky. While most painters are happy brushing on blue from a tube to fill the dome of the

sky, Charney mixes colors into the blue so that you all but feel the breath of wind on your face and squint your eyes from the sun. His clouds are specific- cumulus, cirrus, altocumulus, and a cumulonimbus that stretches the length of a five foot canvas.”

Like a good percentage of the artists showcased in the SOMACC, Charney hails from Ohio. As a painter in New Carlisle, he works on his personal projects in between his teaching schedule at Wittenberg University. According to the museum, Charney is a skilled painter who draws inspiration from what he knows. The results of his Midwestern muse, are often highly-detailed representations of the Midwestern land beneath the sky.

These showcases are free and open to the public, thanks to support through grants from the Ohio Arts Council. The galleries will run through November 25.

Also on permanent display, the Clarence Holbrook Carter Collection, Art of the Ancients: Wertz Collection, and the Carl Ackerman Collection of Historic Photographs.

As above mentioned, Cirque d’Art Theatre’s performance of Emerald City will run 7:30 p.m. on October 20 and 27 and 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on October 21 and 28. General admission is $10, with a discounted admission for museum members and seniors. The show is at the museum.

The Southern Ohio Museum is at 825 Gallia Street, in the heart of Portsmouth’s downtown area, and has two entrances. The entrance on Gallia leads to the lobby and gift shop, while the Sixth Street entrance features a handicapped accessible ramp. The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, from 1-5 p.m; closed on Sundays, Mondays and major holidays. A museum official can be reached by phone at 740-354-5629. To learn more by web, visit

Joseph Pratt

PDT Contributor

Joseph Pratt is a PDT contributor. He may be reached at

Joseph Pratt is a PDT contributor. He may be reached at