Artists have been exploring the fusion of text and imagery in their work for decades. But because reading and looking are two distinctly different processes, the results are often mixed. Consequently, few shows that examine these themes present the synthesis in a truly coherent way.A rare exception is this month’s Contextual: An Exhibition of Image and Word at Northern Kentucky University’s Main Gallery. Featuring more than 20 works by 13 artists from across the U.S., Contextual’s strength rests in its participant’s diversity of approach. Robert Howsare’s “Interrupt” uses only fragments of type to create a luminous abstract space, while Rose DeSloover’s conceptualist piece “Gender Adapter” is an exercise in semantic games. Somehow it all works, and well. Through March 2. Northern Kentucky University’s Main Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Center on Nunn Drive, Highland Hts., Ky. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday through March 2. www.art.nku.edu/galleries, 859-572-5148.