Secondary Meanings: Figurative Diptychs

by Cathy Locke

Secondary Meanings at Zhou B Art Center

In 2019, I had the honor of having my artwork chosen for an exhibition at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. The exhibition Secondary Meanings, featuring figurative diptychs and triptychs, was curated by Steven Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt. Steven Bennett established The Bennett Collection of Women Realists, figurative realist paintings of women by women artists and includes work by some of the most exciting women painters currently working. Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt, a former teacher and administrator, recently founded The Bennett Prize, along with her husband Steven Bennett. The Bennett Prize is designed to propel the careers of women painters who are or seek to become full-time professional painters. 

Secondary Meanings was a very unique exhibition giving an array of international artists an enormous creative opportunity. What follows below is a small selection of artists work from the exhibition with the artists comments about their work. To see all the work exhibited please visit this Artsy Page.

Secondary Meanings at Zhou B Art Center
Nancy Bechtol, Scream Modern Kid 1 & 2, 2019, Photography / digipainting

"My diptych echoes the "Scream: modern kid 1 and Scream: modern kid 2, " the sound and emotions in the kid who is in all of us. Needing to make an impact. Pain releases." – Nancy Bechtol.

Secondary Meanings at Zhou B Art Center
Sharon Sayegh, The Dinner Party, 2018

“My diptych is a politically inspired allegory with art historical references, representing the need to listen and truly see the other side. The ‘guests’ of various species have differing requirements for living. Are they the guests or are they the meal? A visual representation of this theme requires people look, listen and contemplate which is often missing in today’s political discourse.” – Sharon Sayegh Molk

Secondary Meanings at Zhou B Art Center
Cathy Locke, The Tea Party, oil on canvas

“My piece, “The Tea Party”, has a back story. The three children in the painting are a brother and two sisters; they were my students for an entire summer. They did nothing but fight during class and do sneaky things to each other. At the end of the summer I got a children’s book illustration job – “Time Out Bears.” One day this huge box of teddy bears arrived during class. I asked my students if they could help me create a bunch of illustrations. They came up with the idea of a tea party and all the costumes. The photo shoot was insanity, no one held still, and as usual they were up to sneaky things. It took me a long time to figure out how to use the photos and what approach to take. I decided the painting had to have sneaky elements and hidden clues. I actually worked on it for years.” – Cathy Locke

Secondary Meanings at Zhou B Art Center
Judy Takács, Arachne, Predator and Prey, 2019

“Mine is a triptych, "Arachne; Predator and Prey" painting depicting the beautiful and talented Arachne from Greek Mythology. Arachne was a mortal woman and an extraordinary weaver too. She boasted of her skill, which angered the Goddess Athena…who challenged her to a weaving contest. Athena's final creation paled in comparison to Arachne's. Athena became more angered and, being a jealous god, turned poor Arachne into a spider and condemned her to weave for all eternity because she was "soooo good". My painting looks at this myth through a feminist lens and returns elements of humanity, along with her beauty, to the lovely Arachne: she weaves her web with multiple arms, while also wrapped in the webbing with which a spider wraps her prey.” – Judy Takács

Secondary Meanings at Zhou B Art Center
Maryam Gohar, Sapphire Hunters I, 2019, Watercolor, acrylics on watercolor paper

“Sapphire Hunters” – My piece is about the emotional and spatial presence of a woman compared to a man in an almost identical setting.” – Maryam Gohar

About the Author
​Cathy Locke is an award-winning fine art painter, professor, and published writer, specializing in Russian art of the 19th and 20th centuries. She is the editor of

Cathy Locke’s artwork –



Appreciate the highlight on your blog and it was very nice meeting you! I love your magical painting. In person seeing it up close the dreamy colors and tea with the huggable animals feel the happiness.see you again as the stars align. Best all ways.

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