When Grayson College art professor Steve O. Black began an art exhibit 13 years ago featuring exclusively black and white images, people called him crazy.

When Grayson College art professor Steve O. Black began an art exhibit 13 years ago featuring exclusively black and white images, people called him crazy.


"They said, ‘Black and white? Everyone does color,’" Black said. "It’s a stretch for artists to do black and white, … but I like to do challenges."


Maybe artists like challenges too, because 13 years later the annual Absolute Black & White XIII exhibition has grown, culminating in an evening reception on Friday, July 31.


The reception serves as a chance for the public to meet the artists and view their works in the exhibit, which features original works executed in black, white and shades of gray.


"It’s a show where there’s a little bit of everything," Black said. "There’s abstractions, there’s photographs, there’s sculptures; I think people will find it appealing and find something they like."


The exhibit features more than 50 works of art by 25 artists, from both students and professional artists. Each contributer is presented with the challenge of designing their work in a way that is more technical, since all color is taken out of the equation.


"People have a tendency to be somewhat overwhelmed by color, and this offers the artist a chance to really get down to the brass tacks of design, and it allows them to really think about the overall composition and how things are laid out without the color," Black said.


It’s also a chance to expose art to the public in a way that is comfortable even for art novices, Black explained, and help cultivate an appreciation for the work artists create.


"There’s a tendency for us to not go to the art galleries because many times they seem to be somewhat stuffy or maybe the person’s afraid that they’re going to be asked questions by the curator, and here it’s very relaxed and the students and the public alike get to meet artists and professional artists, and we all learn from each other," Black said.