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Juried Student Exhibition at NKU Now on Display

Want to know what’s going on in visual arts at Northern Kentucky University?

A curated show is a great place to get a feel. Or, ask Courtney Huber, Director of the Phyllis Weston Gallery, who was the juror for the current Juried Student Exhibition continuing through April 1 in the NKU Galleries, giving her an ideal overview.

New this year are five $1,000 purchase awards, selected by committee, to go on permanent display in the School of the Arts. Winners will be announced at the reception.

As Huber searched for Best in Show and nine merit prizes through hundreds of entries, some of what she came away with:

“I was very excited when I walked into the Ceramics and Sculpture building. There was something very special going on in that place. There was a movement happening; a common theme that was very unique. It excited me to see this taking place.”

Huber’s excitement was backed by her choice for Best of Show. Shania Conner of Alexandria took the top prize with her ceramic piece Foreshadowing a Requiem.

Huber sees trends “that made me think there was something special happening in certain studies. The photography carried a strong influence in realist landscape photography, holding both documentary style and dream-like cinematic qualities.

“The sculptural department made me feel like I was walking into The Creatures Studio in Hollywood. There was this really fascinating mythical, fantasy thing going on that I really enjoyed. You could see this common thread of ideas being shared among the students.”

When jurying the show, Huber said she looked for several things, starting with things that caught her eye.

“These were works that were esthetically valuable, well done and constructed and apparently conceptual. I also was drawn to particular artist's works that showed cohesion in style.

“Did I see a conversation with a student's work? Were they relaying that message fluently or was it still being questioned? I like to see cohesion in a body of work from an artist when I consider them for an exhibition. I want to see thought that happened before you ever considered starting the piece. Some work is not made this way -- some artist rely on emotion and convention to create. But the theory is still there. You feel because you know. When an artist submitted numerous works that did not show a connected manner, I would choose what I thought was their best work submitted. The artist with multiple works selected are the artist who displayed a strong methodology that separated them from others.”

What makes a best in show? An artist “who clearly displayed an elevation of skill, thought and vision.”

Her final word: “The works submitted for the show at the NKU Juried Student Exhibition were amazing. Many of them showed a level of professionalism that will take them far beyond the school walls.”

Student Juried Exhibition, through April 1. Free artists and awards reception 5-7 p.m. March 31. Northern Kentucky University Galleries, Fine Arts Center, NKU, Highland Heights. Gallery hours:  9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information contact Gallery Director David Knight at 859-572-5148.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts