FEELING THE LOVE FOR CVG'S MURALS?
MASSIVE NEW ARTWORK DESIGNED TO ENHANCE AIRPORT'S AMBIENCE
BY CAROL MOTSINGER
She was in that space between the “here” and the “there,” that fuzzy, often forgettable time when a trip is just the travel. But while she strolled through Concourse B at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, something happened. Something clear, memorable.
She saw artists Kevin T. Kelly and his son, Jack, painting in the hallway there. And she couldn’t keep moving. This is really significant to me, she told them. Twenty minutes later, she returned. I have to take a picture of you, she said. I am going to frame this photograph and put this on my wall, she said. At home, at that final destination.
And the painting – a bright, crisp depiction of a smiling couple, sunny skies and a sparkling plane – was only halfway done.
“I wanted to make some paintings that are really bright and cheerful and have this sense of whimsical nostalgia that takes you back to an earlier time ... when it was fun to fly, the wholesome, bygone era that was more enjoyable and less stressful,” said Kevin T. Kelly, who expects to finish the live-painting performance on Friday.
Early next year, the two massive paintings, measuring both around 8-by-11 feet, will be displayed in the customs area in Concourse B. These pieces, dubbed “Love Is In the Air,” are just the latest efforts by CVG officials to enhance the traveler experience with cultural enrichment.
This summer, CVG welcomed over 90 objects from the Cincinnati Museum Center, including the 1940 Aeronca Defender airplane, Ice Age animal skeletons and large machines from the 19th century. CVG is a temporary home for this collection as Union Terminal restorations continue.
The airport in Northern Kentucky has also been a longtime safe haven for another Union Terminal treasure: 14 of the Winold Reiss industrial murals, originally produced for the Art Deco icon and former train station. (Nine moved to Duke Energy Convention Center this year.)
Mindy Kershner, manager of public and government affairs, said officials aimed to build on the classical art tradition the Reiss murals represents. “We wanted something more edgy and modern,” Kershner said.
And Kevin T. Kelly’s concept for the project – and execution of it – is a simple one. The two pieces are romantic “bookends,” depicting two couples arriving and departing an airport. The style is a sort of postmodern pop, reminiscent in color and composition of a classic comic book. Or a glossy print advertisement in some 1960s magazine.
They are both windows into a fantasy world, too. One where the sky is always bright blue and the only clouds are always fluffy. One where a ride on an airplane is a ticket to true love.
That’s what that woman took a picture of, that’s what she wanted to hang on her wall.
Love, Kevin T. Kelly said.
She also told them she had just finalized her divorce. “It really seemed like (the art) helped her let go,” said Jack Kelly. “It was really cool to see it touch somebody like that.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer
December 23, 2016