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Flashback to Now exhibition postcard

Exhibition Preview: Flashback to Now: OAC Support for Individual Artists

Flashback to Now will be open in the OAC’s Riffe Gallery in Downtown Columbus from July 23 through October 18, 2015.

In the same vein of the Ohio Arts Council's 50th anniversary, the OAC’s Riffe Gallery continues to celebrate a tradition of public funding for arts and culture in Ohio with a hallmark exhibition. Through the scope of the OAC’s Individual Artists program, we take the time to celebrate 15 of Ohio’s creative luminaries in Flashback to Now: OAC Support for Individual Artists—all of whom were some of the OAC’s very first individual artist grant recipients in the 1980s. 

Flashback to Now, curated by recently-retired Wexner Center publications director and long-time Ohio art historian Ann Bremner, delves into the state's varied artistic sensibilities and lifts up those who have helped make Ohio art what it is today. From the rich stories of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s pieces, to the shared American experience in Jack Earl’s work, and the baskets of Dorothy Gill Barnes that redefine craft, these artists breathe life into Ohio’s visual culture. To convey these artistic journeys each artist displays an early work, created around the time of their first OAC grant, and then comparatively presents recent work. To view both pieces in tandem illustrates their creative process over time. Journeys, experimentation, stories, and so much more are revealed.

While exploring these artists' creative developments, it's important to take notice of the drastic, or perhaps subtle, changes between their early and current work. For instance with Gregory Spaid, similar processes may be used throughout his bodies of work, the outcome between old and new can seem drastically different. 

One of Spaid’s 1980s pieces consists of an Esher-esque hand-colored silver print of endlessly intertwined knick knacks—framed and hung on the wall. In contrast, his recent pieces are mixed media wall-hanging sculptures incorporating both found objects and again, more hand-colored prints. Where Spaid’s work varies, there is also semblance--both old and new present an exploration of photography and its applications in very innovative ways for an outcome that’s nothing less than surreal. For other artists, where there is lack of extremes between works, there is evidence of evolution in the details. 

So often, the mastery of a craft takes decades of practice and becomes more apparent through purposeful, keen observations. Janice Lessman-Moss’ pieces are both woven wall-hangings. While the presentation, materials, and execution is similar, when viewing the old and new together, her exploration of pattern becomes the vanguard. Her early piece consists of a gradient of black to white as well as separate sections of contrasting black and white checkered squares. In the new work, layers of rich pattern blend seamlessly over the entire composition. They allude to far away places, observation, research, and practice. Lessman-Moss, and many other exhibiting artists, have continually studied and mastered themes and media over their careers.  

These artists are masters of various media and have taken varied paths. Introspection, dedication, experimentation, and passion shine through each artwork. Join us in cherishing some of our best, and get ready for what’s sure to be many years of artistic excellence in Ohio. 

Meet the artists and curator at the public opening reception Thursday, July 23, 5-7 p.m.

For more information, visit

The Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery showcases the work of Ohio's artists and the collections of the state's museums and galleries. The Riffe Gallery is located in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, across from the Statehouse on High Street in Downtown Columbus. Like the Riffe Gallery on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Molly Rutledge, PIO Intern 

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