Eastern Kentucky artists featured in 'The 606' exhibition
For a few more days at the Lex Arts Gallery in Lexington the exhibit called ‘The 606’ is on display. Pam Oldfield Meade is one of the five artists featured in the show which includes more than 30 pieces of art. She explained how the show got its title.
“Somebody kept referring to it as ‘The 606’ just because we were all rooted in eastern Kentucky and that’s the area code for telephones here. The 606, it sort of seemed to tell where we were from and so we stuck with that title for the exhibition,” explained Meade.
Meade said she and the other artists are deeply rooted in eastern Kentucky. Rebecca Miller Campbell, Sam McKinney, Ron Gevedon, and Meade currently live in the region. The fifth artist, Kopana Terry was raised there and now lives in Lexington. Pam Oldfield Meade who has six paintings featured in the show said while the themes of the exhibit focus on Appalachia and eastern Kentucky, they’re also universal.
“ It is representative of eastern Kentucky but also it’s just representative of life in general. Specifically, the pieces I have in ‘The 606’ exhibition, a couple of them are about the flood last year in eastern Kentucky. I have a couple of pieces that are political in nature. I have a piece about anti-racism," said Meade.
Two of Meade’s paintings that are focused on eastern Kentucky are reminders of the horrific flooding in the region in July of last year. Meade and her husband are still heavily involved in helping people rebuild and recover from the disaster. One of her pieces reminiscent of the flood is called ‘Tragic Beauty’. She recalled what inspired the other piece about the flood she calls ‘Tell Me Your Story.’
"One of the ladies I was working with who was right there in the flood. Her neighbor died. She found her neighbor out in the yard. And she just described how it was like Niagara Falls. And so many people when they tell their stories, it’s like they can’t even believe what they saw. That’s how I got that title," said Meade.
Another one of Meade’s paintings shows an actual pan of biscuits her sister made sitting on her mother’s blue and white tea towel. She titled it,’ It was nothing a pan of biscuits couldn’t fix’.
“Food in general has a way of bringing people together. That whole piece is about a big political fight. We ended up patching the argument with that pan of biscuits.," reported Meade.
Photographer Kopana Terry has 8 photos included in the exhibit. She says she tries to capture images, scenes, and people in real-life situations.
“And in this particular case, it is a direct reflection of Appalachia. So I’ve got a photograph of a young man sitting on a mountaintop looking out over fog.
There’s another photograph of my dad when he was dying. And he is surrounded by his church family laying hands on him to pray him over to the other side.,“ said Terry.
Terry also talked about another artist featured in The 606, named Sam McKinney. She said his work is prominently displayed upon entering the Lex Arts Gallery.
“He did this beautiful series of nudes and they’re really large nudes. Yet he cut them up into strips and weaved them between tobacco sticks. It’s almost a literal example of how we weave our culture into the work,” said Terry.
Terry also mentioned the work of Rebecca Miller Campbell and how Campbell has a wall full of dolls she created for The 606.
"A lot of times those dolls reflect perhaps foxes or wolves or wildlife that one would see in Appalachia, raccoons, groundhogs, things like that,” explained Terry.
And finally, Ron Gevedon. In The 606 exhibit Gevedon has 5 acrylic paintings that are the beginning of a much larger series he’s working on called Halcyon Daze.
In this exhibit, there’s a painting of his grandmother holding a shotgun. Gevedon says it’s based on a true story.
“One of my paintings is called ‘Grannie’s got a gun’. And it’s based on my grandmother, after my grandfather died in the 60’s. There was a lot of people pranking around. And she shot the screen door off the house with a shotgun, in real life. And they split the corn patch in two. She never did get pranked again. The painting itself has an old granny woman sitting on the porch with her shotgun. The title is basically a pun on the Aerosmith song, Janie’s Got Her Gun.
This is just a glimpse of the 'The 606' exhibition featured at The Lex Arts Gallery in Lexington. It is on display through September 2nd.
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