Throughout the school year, the work of SOTA students is showcased in the main and third floor galleries to showcase their work to the public. The spring semester allows for a change of pace at the galleries, as full-time and part-time faculty members share their work with students from NKU and beyond.
Until February 18, the main gallery will be filled with artwork from twenty faculty members housed at 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 provides a window into the lives of full-time and part-time faculty members who may not show their work to students on a daily basis.
Nicholas Bonner, lecturer in foundations at SOTA, agrees that it’s very important for students not to see his pieces in class, especially at the foundation stage.
“Something that drives me crazy in academia is when I look at someone’s work and know who they worked with. I see too much influence. I do not want [my students] being influenced by ‘he likes it’. I will do things like that. It’s not about me, it’s about you,” Bonner said.
Bonner explained that an exhibition like this paves the way for who he is as a person, even if he keeps his life private. It is important to share what faculty members create, while maintaining the separation of private and personal life.
Sso-Rha Kang, Director of Galleries and Outreach at SOTA, expressed the importance of showcasing faculty art at NKU.
“All faculty members are active practitioners in their field. It’s really important that we give them a platform to showcase what they’re working on and that keeps students up to date. It also helps foster relationships between students and faculty,” Kang said.
While teaching for the duration of the school year, instructors create and sell pieces that students have not yet seen.
Bonner creates and sells her pottery at a number of different shows throughout the year, one being the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati on Last Fridays. He works alongside the Clay Alliance, a group of local ceramic artists.
Bonner said that while he used to do a lot more carving, he returned to making pots, which are featured in the exhibit.
“That was sort of my original love. I’m still going to do a lot of carving, but I love doing pots because I love the connection between me and the person doing it, which you don’t get not with sculpture,” Bonner said.
Van Loveren Geis highlights a more vulnerable approach in the work she includes in the solo exhibition, titled “Presenting As”.
The pieces she presents to her audience are the culmination of distorted scans that show different aspects of the human body intended to document the little things in life that establish its identity.
Van Loveren Geis, retention specialist and senior lecturer at 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 for these works. Although she may not have witnessed the discrimination her family faced, the book about her grandfather and past stories helped her better understand his heritage.
“When I talk about this art, I often tell these stories about things that influenced my identity formation, but a lot of these things didn’t happen to me. I was just witnessing them or reading a book about them. my grandfather. Through the book about him and talking to my family for most of my life, it’s impacted me and how I see race and how I see my identity in this society,” van Loveren said. Geis.
Because her family is interracial, she thought she understood the minority experience because she 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’s not the same experience [as other members in my family]when I can withdraw from my family and walk alone as a woman who comes out as white,” van Loveren Geis said.
After 3 years of work, NKU funded the project and expressed its support for 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-time and part-time faculty exhibit an important thing for students to attend to see their instructor’s plays, but they can also learn something along the way. In particular, van Loveren Geis’ material helps audiences feel heard in their process of learning who they are.
“Having this perspective that race and our identities are not always visual, we may very well perceive people as very different from who they are. I think it’s good for them to see and hopefully talk about it and tell their experiences under all identities, including LGBTQ+ students or undocumented students,” said van Loveren Geis.
Van Loveren Geis hopes her audience will understand that identity is complex and that they value their identity, as well as the identity of community members.
Kang adds that the exhibit of van Loveren Geis’s pieces helps create a conversation starter about race and presents it in a subtle way.
“This is how I would like the gallery to function, as a place for critical reflection and deepening. Where we can safely discuss widespread, important and difficult issues,” Kang said.
Because it was her first time attending a teacher exhibition at NKU, Kang took the opportunity to see her colleagues’ work and get to know everyone better.
The faculty exhibit, showcasing the art of several different artists and featuring a multitude of topics, brings an even deeper understanding of the art world to campus. The freedom to express what words cannot describe and for instructors to educate the community on issues that go far beyond NKU.
The full-time and part-time exhibition will continue until February 18, 2022. For more information on the gallery’s upcoming exhibitions, visit Galleries: University of Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati Area (nku.edu) or contact [email protected] for more information.