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In New Art Show at NKU, "Those Who Can, Teach"

The eleven pieces in Dogma: Sabbatical Work of Steven Finke showcase work created during a recent year-long sabbatical. It’s on view in Northern Kentucky University’s Third Floor Gallery, in conjunction with the Faculty Exhibit in the Main Gallery.
 
The sculptural pieces (some seen last year in Imminence at the Aronoff Center’s Weston Art Gallery) will become part of an enormous site-specific project that consumes a great deal of Finke’s non-teaching time. “I teach, eat, take care of personal hygiene, and work,” Finke jokes. 
 
In the 1990s, Finke and his wife Ana England bought 45 acres of forested land in southeast Clermont County. They live and work there and Finke is slowly creating a progression of large site-specific sculptures that create an ever-growing, walkable environmental installation. 
 
The in-process artistic journey, which is set on about one-half acre within sight of the couple’s studio, is open to the public by appointment.
 
Finke’s personal and universal theme is “a reflection on mortality” and his installation is intended as an opportunity for viewers to simply enjoy quiet, and “reflect on impermanence, solitary-ness.” 
 
After more than 15 years, Finke says, “I still feel as if I’m at an early stage.” The inspiration is The Tibetan Book of the Dead (the commonly agreed-on definition online is: 
“intended to guide one through the experiences that the consciousness has after death, in the bardo, the interval between death and the next rebirth.”)
 
Finke’s first sculpture in the series was The Cessation of Breath. On view at NKU are pieces that will become part of The Waiting Room
 
Reliquaries include “some kind of relic of a creature” from his forest. Finke also uses scrap metal and now wood from ash trees. “I’m in the process of losing all my ashes,” he sighs, to the infamous ash borer destroying trees throughout the region. The long-horned beetle, Finke says, is just a few miles away.
 
“I was depressed but life moves forward. The whole ecology is changing. I’m going to let them naturally decompose and I’ll use the lumber to build something new.”
 
Finke invites anyone interested in touring the outdoor installation to e-mail him at [email protected].
 
NKU Faculty Show Now Open
 
Meet Northern Kentucky University’s visual arts faculty through their art for the next few weeks.
 
 
The annual faculty exhibit reminds us that the age-old adage ‘those who can’t, teach’ is very wrong. At NKU, it’s ‘those who can, teach.’
 
In the Main Gallery, FE15: Department of Visual Arts Full and Part-time Faculty Exhibition features 45 works by 22 faculty.
 
It’s a wide range of media, says Gallery Director David Knight.  Paintings, video, sculpture, handmade paper, photography drawing, printmaking, functional ceramics, visual communication design and mixed media – the work on view “let’s the community and students see what faculty work on in their time away from teaching.”
 
Chances are gallery-goers will already know NKU’s faculty artists from work they see off campus – “the majority have exhibited in the last year,” Knight says, at galleries throughout the region.
 
 
Full and Part-Time Faculty Exhibition (Main Gallery) and Dogma: Sabbatical Work of Steven Finke (Third Floor Gallery), through Feb. 6. Fine Arts Center, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights. Gallery hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday.  Free. Artists’ reception: 5-7 p.m. Jan. 29 includes a gallery talk by Steven Finke at 5 p.m. (Snow date, Feb. 5)
 
-Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts
 
Photos provided