Full and part-time faculty exhibition sheds light on the work of instructors and issues that extend beyond NKU
February 13, 2022
Throughout the school year, the work of SOTA students are highlighted in the Main and Third Floor galleries to broadcast their work to the public. The spring semester allows for a change of pace in the galleries, as full and part time faculty members share their work with the students of NKU and beyond.
Until Feb. 18, the Main Gallery will be filled with art from twenty faculty members housed in SOTA. The Third Floor Gallery exhibits the work of featured artist and faculty member, Candice van Loveren Geis.
To establish a sense of professionalism in the classroom, many professors and lecturers in the NKU community do not share their work with students. This exhibition allows a window into the life of full and part-time faculty members that may not show their work to students on a daily basis.
Nicholas Bonner, senior foundations lecturer in SOTA, recognizes that there is great value to the students not seeing his pieces in the classroom, especially at the foundation stage.
“Something that drives me crazy in the academic world is when I look at someone’s work and know who they worked with. I see too much influence. I don’t want [my students] to be influenced by ‘he likes this. I am going to make things like that.’ It is not about me, it’s about you,” Bonner said.
Bonner explained that an exhibition like this one provides an avenue into who he is as a person, even as he keeps his life private. It is important to share what faculty members create, while still maintaining the separation of private and personal life.
Sso-Rha Kang, director of galleries and outreach in SOTA, expressed the importance of showcasing faculty art at NKU.
“All of the faculty members are active practitioners in their field. It is really important that we give them a platform to showcase what they are working on and it keeps the students up to date. It also helps foster relationships between students and faculty,” Kang said.
While teaching during the duration of the school year, instructors are creating and selling pieces that the students have not yet seen.
Bonner creates and sells his pottery at a number of different shows throughout the year with one being the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati during Final Fridays. He works alongside the Clay Alliance, a group of local ceramic artists.
Bonner expressed that while he used to make many more sculptures, he has come back to making pots, which are featured in the exhibition.
“It was sort of my original love. I am still going to make plenty of sculptures, but I love making pots because I like the connection between me and the person making it, which you don’t get with sculpture,” Bonner said.
Van Loveren Geis highlights a more vulnerable approach in the work she includes in the solo exhibition, entitled “Presenting As.”
The pieces she presents to her audience are a culmination of distorted scanographs that show different aspects of the human body that’s intention is to document the little things in life that establish one’s identity.
Van Loveren Geis, retention specialist and senior lecturer in SOTA, added that the pieces she created are an exploration of her own identity and the identity of her family.
Recognizing and accepting that she is a quarter Chinese inspired the idea of these works. Though she may not have been witness to the discrimination that her family has faced, the book about her grandfather and the stories past down have helped her better understand her heritage.
“When I talk about this art, I often tell these stories about things that have influenced my identity formation, but a lot of those things did not happen to me. I was just witness to them or I read a book about my grandfather. Through the book about him and through talking to my family most of my life, that has imprinted on me and how I view race and how I view my identity in this society,” van Loveren Geis said.
Because her family is interracial, she thought she understood the minority experience, because she has witnessed it. Van Loveren Geis, however, realizes that she is privileged in society as a woman who identifies as white in the interracial community.
“It is not the same experience [as other members in my family], when I can remove myself from my family and walk alone as a woman who presents as white,” van Loveren Geis said.
After 3 years of work, NKU funded the project and expressed to her their support in the process. The College of Arts and Sciences and SOTA paid for the majority of the production of these pieces, as expressed by van Loveren Geis.
Not only is the full and part-time faculty exhibition an important thing for students to attend in seeing their instructor’s pieces, they can also learn something along the way. In particular, van Loveren Geis’ material helps the audience feel heard in their process toward learning who they are.
“Having that perspective that race and our identities are not always visual, we can very much perceive people as much different than who they are. I think it is good for them to see and talk about that, hopefully, and tell about their experiences in all identities, including LGBTQ+ students or students that are undocumented,” van Loveren Geis said.
Van Loveren Geis hopes that her audience will understand that identity is complex and that she values her identity, as well as the identity of those in the community.
Kang adds that exhibiting van Loveren Geis’ pieces helps create a start for conversation regarding race and presents it in a subtle way.
“That’s how I would like the gallery to function, as a place of critical thinking and deeper thought. Where we can safely discuss issues that are very prevalent, important, and difficult,” Kang said.
Because this was her first time experiencing a faculty exhibition at NKU, Kang used this as an opportunity to see the work her co-workers exhibit and get to know everyone a bit better.
The faculty exhibition, featuring art from multiple different artists and presenting a multitude of topics, brings to campus an even deeper understanding into the world of art. The freedom to express what words cannot describe and for instructors to educate the community on issues that go far beyond NKU.
The full and part-time exhibition will run until Feb. 18 2022. For more information regarding upcoming gallery exhibitions, visit Galleries : Northern Kentucky University, Greater Cincinnati Region (nku.edu) or contact email@example.com for more information.