A matter of context


Two new exhibitions opened to the public Feb. 9 in the third floor galleries of Northern Kentucky University’s Fine Arts Center. “The Valentine’s Exhibition” and “Contextual: An Exhibition of Image and Word” incorporate the talent of artists on both a local and a national level.

“Contextual,” which will be displayed in the larger of the two galleries, is based on a “theme of integration of word, or text, with image,” according to gallery director David Knight.
“You can add more to an image by adding text, or you can make it more uncertain,” said artist Guen Montgomery.

Montgomery, a graduate student at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, created a linoleum wood-cut carving of her uncle, accompanied by the phrase, “We ‘Prciateyuns.” The phrase is a common way of thanking someone in Scott County, Tenn., where Montgomery is from.

Montgomery said that the phrase is “sort of opaque” and could be interpreted either as something her uncle is saying, or it could be construed as something being said to him.
While Montgomery’s art tends to have a playful feel to it, some of the art featured in “Contextual” has a more somber tone.

Coker College Art Department Chair Jean Grosser created two pieces displayed in the show, “Health Kit for the Uninsured” and “Fragments of Hate #3.”

“Fragments of Hate #3,” which looks like a torn and charred page out of a book, was inspired by Neo-Nazi hate books. Grosser obtained some of the books, which were being given to artists to change their messages.

“Really good artwork and social protest takes images of hate and somehow transforms their meaning,” Grosser said.
In the smaller gallery, “The Valentine’s Exhibition” features the work of eight local artists. NKU adjunct instructor of art appreciation Cheryl Pannabecker worked with Roy Cartwright to put together the “The Valentine’s Exhibition,” beginning one year ago.

Pannabecker and Cartwright discussed doing a Valentine’s exhibition a few years ago, when Pannabecker discovered that Valentine’s Day is Cartwright’s favorite holiday. The two finally began to put the exhibition together in 2011.

The exhibition, which opened with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, features art that conveys different aspects of love. Some of the facets the exhibition explores include traditional sentimental love, denial of love, lust and disappointment, according to Pannabecker.
Both exhibitions will be on display until March 2. The galleries are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday.