Furnish - new paintings by Will Anderson
Oct
6
to Nov 24

Furnish - new paintings by Will Anderson

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From Will:
I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. Attended the Kansas City Art Institute where I received a BFA in painting, 2008. I have since moved back to Omaha where I have been living and practicing art ever since. I have participated in a number of group shows over the years in spaces such as the Bemis, the RNG Gallery, and others. This will be my first solo show.


If you think that a lot of the forms look like chairs, that’s great. 
I do too.

I suppose they are chairs. But that is not really what my work is about. My work is about looking. The “long look," I like to call it. 
Something that reveals itself over time, more slowly, it is sometimes the most interesting thing when this is never fully achieved. Art that I don’t understand is fundamentally longer lasting for me.

I have been working in a monochromatic format for about three years now. This work has a lot to do with pattern and repetition, both visually and mechanically. All the works are done using a cobalt blue oil paint that I make in the studio myself. I should say the paintings are made using both blue and white pigments. The two colors become stripes and dots, flesh and wood, comfort and repulsion, volume and vacuum. By repeating these forms so many times the work has become mysterious to me. Therefore, I am comfortable with it. 

Through my years as an artist, especially the more recent ones where I have spent a great deal of my time scrubbing clean my work of any real answers. Begrudgingly, I have come across one enduring conclusion. Art occurs in the space between the work, and the individual.

Be it the space seperating a stripe or a dot, or that of vacant chair. Nothing is empty.

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2017 Union Fellows Exhibition
Nov
3
to Dec 16

2017 Union Fellows Exhibition

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We are pleased to present the 2017 Union Fellows Exhibition, featuring the work of Omaha-based artists Celeste Butler, Samone Davis, Jamie Danielle Hardy, Edem Kegey, and Slowed Soul (Noah Sterba + Jeff Sedrel).   Celeste Bulter What can working within new communities mean for an artist’s practice? The Union’s Fellowship program offers an experience for local artists that not only supports their individual creative processes, but also provides them with opportunities to engage with North Omaha residents in mutually beneficial ways. Fellows are selected annually through a jury process, and are provided studio spaces, mentorship, and professional development opportunities focused on socially engaged art practices. This multidisciplinary exhibition is the culmination of the 2017 Fellows’ 11-month residency, featuring participatory community-based textiles by “Quilterpreneur” Celeste Butler, fashion design by Samone Davis, intersections of text and visual art by Slowed Soul (Noah Sterba + Jeff Sedrel), recorded and live musical performance by Edem Kegey, and light-based installation by Jamie Danielle Hardy. This exhibition is curated by Jennifer Baker, Assistant Curator of H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute. Our 2017 exhibition program is generously sponsored by Paul & Annette Smith. 

We are pleased to present the 2017 Union Fellows Exhibition, featuring the work of Omaha-based artists Celeste ButlerSamone DavisJamie Danielle HardyEdem Kegey, and Slowed Soul (Noah Sterba + Jeff Sedrel).

 

Celeste Bulter

What can working within new communities mean for an artist’s practice? The Union’s Fellowship program offers an experience for local artists that not only supports their individual creative processes, but also provides them with opportunities to engage with North Omaha residents in
mutually beneficial ways.

Fellows are selected annually through a jury process, and are provided studio spaces, mentorship, and professional development opportunities focused on socially engaged art practices. This multidisciplinary exhibition is the culmination of the 2017 Fellows’ 11-month residency, featuring participatory community-based textiles by “Quilterpreneur” Celeste Butler, fashion design by Samone Davis, intersections of text and
visual art by Slowed Soul (Noah Sterba + Jeff Sedrel), recorded and live musical performance by Edem Kegey, and light-based installation by Jamie Danielle Hardy.

This exhibition is curated by Jennifer Baker, Assistant Curator of H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Our 2017 exhibition program is generously sponsored by Paul & Annette Smith. 

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Alex Myers - This is Fine
Nov
10
to Dec 3

Alex Myers - This is Fine

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Project Project is pleased to announce the opening reception of This is Fine featuring new work by Alex Myers. Myers will be presenting an array of mixed-format digital works. Constant experimentation and research fuel Myers’s work in breaking images and systems in order to return them to an alternative form of assembly. As always, Project Project receptions are free and open to the public. 

Project Project is organized by Joel Damon and Josh Powell.

From the artist:
I like connecting disparate thoughts. I create surrealistic scenes by exploring the potentials of data transmutation. Cutting, chopping, stretching ideas, forms, and thoughts until they're barely recognizable.
My research is far ranging and include games, architecture, violence, fear, mysticism, ambiguity, perception, movement, nature, extinction, death, and loss. I'd say that I like systems, but I think that's a bit redundant. Everything human is built upon systems. It's how we think.
My methods and materials change to fit the needs of the project, but I spend a lot of time working in 3D environments like Blender and Unity.

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Camille Hawbaker & Julia Ibbini: Fragile Boundries
Sep
8
to Nov 5

Camille Hawbaker & Julia Ibbini: Fragile Boundries

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Opening Reception and Artist Talk: September 8th, 6-8PM

Fragile Boundaries, opening Friday, September 8, at Darger HQ, will feature work by Camille Hawbaker (Omaha, Nebraska) and Julia Ibbini (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) and will be on view through November 5th.  The opening reception will be 6:00 to 9:00 pm, with an artist talk at 8:00 pm, moderated by Alex Priest, Exhibition Manager, Bemis Center of Contemporary Art.
 
Julia Ibbini works with pattern, color, and texture through digital and hand manipulations. Her work bridges new technology and traditional ornamental designs as she explores a sense of identity, or finding one’s place in life.  Camille Hawbaker also works with pattern, color, and texture as a way to explore identity in language, and the places where words fall apart. She uses traditional “craft” processes to transform the material.   Both artists navigate the fragile boundaries of art and craft and cultural identity.   Jordanian-British Julia Ibbini has spent the majority of her life in Abu Dhabi, and now works from a studio space in the heart of the city.  Camille Hawbaker grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and lives and works in Omaha, Nebraska

More information can be found on the artists’ websites:
http://www.ibbini.com/
https://www.camillehawbaker.org/

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Nancy Friedemann-Sànchez: Chapter 5: River
Sep
8
to Oct 15

Nancy Friedemann-Sànchez: Chapter 5: River

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Nancy Friedemann Sánchez, Morisca, 2017, Mopa mopa, tyvek and readymade

Nancy Friedemann Sánchez, Morisca, 2017,
Mopa mopa, tyvek and readymade

Opening Reception: September 8th, 6-8 PM

Lincoln, Nebraska-based artist Nancy Friedemann-Sánchez explores the experience of living between cultures and languages. The artist uses aspects of storytelling–fables, chapters of novels, and museum displays–to form a structure for her evolving bodies of work. In her exhibition Chapter 5: River, large-scale ink drawings and small sculptures reveal multiple perspectives surrounding contemporary circumstances that have been disentangled from their colonial histories. Raised in Bogotá, Colombia, the artist is attuned to historic and ongoing relationships of indigenous, displaced, and colonial cultures in the Americas, and the power structures that determine which of these narratives are included in history books. Friedemann-Sánchez explores the underrepresented histories of women, indigenous and enslaved peoples, supported by research of traditional objects and cultural practices at national history museums in North and South America. This exhibition features life-sized drawn figures depicting the social hierarchies of mixed racial and ethnic identities in Colombia, feminine lacework patterns painted into a border riverscape of heroic scale, and small objects conveying practical knowledge passed across cultures. Together, these different forms weave a rich and complicated tale of diaspora, migrancy, and power.

This exhibition is curated by Risa Puleo, Curator-in-Residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. The curatorial residency provides the opportunity to work alongside residency and curatorial staff, actively contributing to the overall vision of the organization's renowned exhibition program. As an integral member of the Bemis Center’s Artist-in-Residence Program, Puleo stimulates intellectual discourse surrounding contemporary art practice through studio visits, knowledge-sharing workshops, and other organized programs with fellow artists-in-residence. She also serves as a part of the cultural fabric of Greater Omaha, as a professional resource for local artists and arts professionals, and as an ambassador of the Bemis Center in the community. This program is the first of its kind in Nebraska.

About the artist:

In her work Nancy Friedemann deliberately manages an economy of materials. Her large scale drawings alude to Minimalism and the Pattern and Decoration Movement but explicitly explore the experience of identity, memory and gender. 

Nancy Friedemann has a masters degree from New York University; a BFA from Otis Art Institute and undergraduate studies from La Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.

Recent Individual exhibitions include: Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami; Collette Blanchard Gallery, New York; Frost Museum, Miami; Galeria Diners, Bogotá; Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts, New York; Sheldon Memorial Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska; Queens Museum of Art, New York; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Panamá. 

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Alex Jochim, Sarah Jones & Kristin Pluhacek
Sep
1
to Oct 28

Alex Jochim, Sarah Jones & Kristin Pluhacek

Kristin Pluhacek, Bart, 2016

Kristin Pluhacek, Bart, 2016

Opening Reception: September 1st, 4-6 PM

Artist's Statements
Alex Jochim is a photographer, event coordinator, and gallery operator by day, and bartender by night. He documents people, places, and things that are particularly connected to his world: shooting travels, friends, family, community, and anything that inspires him personally. His photos are preferably candid, but sometimes inescapably or even intentionally posed. Inspiration comes from his surroundings, but motivation is drawn from two realms: he shoots very selfishly, capturing the people and things he loves in life, independent of others demands or confines. He also shoots very nostalgically, preserving the moments that he wants to last, which over time form his pictorial narrative.

Sarah Jones layers forms, materials, colors and light to create new spaces for an audience to enter. By making these installations, she draws inspiration from music videos and blipster culture, though the content of her work is not solely dependent on these references. Some objects are fully recognizable, while others are ambiguous in order to allow viewers to make their own associations. Ultimately, she wants to create a space where people can easily immerse themselves in their imagination.

Kristin Pluhacek likes a strong subject, something that maintains its presence while allowing for elaboration and whimsy. Lately, Pluhacek has been making portraits of people she knows, and who may be recognizable in the Omaha arts community. There is a structure to these interactions; the person sits for her in increments of 20 minutes while she draws quickly in charcoal, often while carrying on a conversation. The resulting gestures are fluid and open – they are the life of the portrait. She then works alone, from photographs of the pose, adding color and refining the image. This process allows her to interact with friends and acquaintances more fully, employing the solitary language with which she is comfortable while still sharing an experience.

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Brigitte Waldach: Instinct-Black Box
Aug
10
to Sep 10

Brigitte Waldach: Instinct-Black Box

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The Moving Gallery is pleased to introduce Instinct—Black Box, an exhibition of recent work by Berlin artist Brigitte Waldach. Opening on August 10 at the Garden of the Zodiac, 1042 Howard Street in the Old Market Passageway, the show continues the artist’s investigation of human emotions and behavior. This exhibition, organized by curator Matthias Harder of Berlin’s Helmut Newton Foundation, runs concurrently with the Moving Gallery’s presentation of Drive Drove Driven: Cars in Contemporary Photography at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, 405 S. 11th Street.

Waldach addresses the inherent tension in the dynamics of human behavior and emotion in her spatial drawing Instinct – Black Box. Ninety drawings are hung on the walls in a tight one-row grid, in the two spaces, painted entirely in black. On display are dreamlike miniatures: people with elongated limbs or unusual body extensions, faceless portraits, emotions rendered as schematic line drawings, gesture fragments, and brilliantly poignant scenes that tread the line between absurdity, slapstick, and oppression. 

Again and again, the inner tension of these drawings emerges from the contrast between fine, quick, and almost timid lines, and solid dark surfaces that sharply contour individual body parts, without articulating spatial depth. Waldach offers us a kind of visual diary here, journaling a newly regained desire for free drawing, and for the immediacy of pictorial expression, which seeks to liberate the bond between hand and eye from intellectual control. Aphoristic scenes align themselves with temporary neighbors, establishing rhythms, assuming narrative threads, and losing them again in the ambiguity of spontaneous thought.

For this exhibition, Waldach’s drawings will be printed in an exclusive edition of 1/1 and accompanied by individual texts, each serving as an abstract short story about these snapshots of human behavior. Thus, a second "Omaha original" has been created, in that a duplicate becomes one of a kind.

Characteristic of Waldach’s artwork, monochromatic imagery is presented with an economy of detail, the negative space of the white paper lending to a work’s ambiguity or openness of meaning. Within the delicacy and sparseness of her rendering is a psychological weight that grounds the images. Her works often pay respect to authors with insight into human nature, such as Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka and Edgar Allen Poe, while others reflect the dark expressionism of filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch.

Brigitte Waldach was born in 1966 in Berlin, Germany, where she lives and works. While at Berlin’s University of the Arts, she studied art pedagogy and theory, and painting under Georg Baselitz. Exhibiting continuously since 2000 in venues from Buenos Aires to Seoul, Waldach has enjoyed recent solo shows in Denmark at the Brandts museum in Odense and Galleri Bo Bjerggaard in Copenhagen, as well as Conrads Gallery in Dusseldorf, Germany. Additionally, her work is included in the collections of the Albertina in Vienna and the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin, among others. This is the artist’s second solo show in Omaha; in 2012, she presented Logical Landscape drawings at the Moving Gallery and was a featured artist in 2007’s Portrait: Berlin.

Brigitte Waldach: Instinct opens on the evening of August 10, 2017, and runs through September 10 in the Garden of the Zodiac Gallery, 1042 Howard Street. The gallery is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 8:00pm and on Sundays from noon to 6:00pm. For further information, please contact 402.341.1877 or vmercer3@cox.net.

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Derek Courtney
Jul
7
to Aug 25

Derek Courtney

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Derek Courtney, Idiot King of Overtime

Derek Courtney, Idiot King of Overtime

Opening Reception: Friday, July 7th, 4 - 6 PM

Gold watch/pine box. This was the phrase that led to the current focus of Derek Courtney's work. Previously his work dealt with the themes of land use, consumption and depletion, as well as labor and production. Recently the focus of his art has shifted to address the the human costs of labor.

In his recent work, Courtney attempts to draw parallels between the modern labor movement in the US and the labor movement as it existed in early 20th century Appalachia. His goal is to highlight the detrimental effect supply side and neoliberal economic policy have had on the working population in general. Financially, today's hourly wage earner is every bit the debt slave that a miner in West Virginia was in the 1930s. These days, the company store has been replace by the banking industry.

In addition to the financial burden today's worker is also battling the physical and emotional toll involved in the modern workplace. Increased productivity leads to greater frequency of injury and illness. Prolonged exposure to less than ideal environments can produce chronic disease. Longer hours can lead to stress related illness and depression. All of this, of course, leads one to discover ways of coping. This can lead to addiction to any number of substances.

So at the end of a 30+year career, after paying off student loans, house loans, car loans and various home equity loans, what are you left with? After fighting through injury, sickness and the deterioration of age what are you left with? After overcoming all the exhaustion, stress and depression what are you left with?

Gold watch/pine box.

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Where We Land: Zora Murff, Jordan Weber, and Lachell Workman
Jun
16
to Aug 12

Where We Land: Zora Murff, Jordan Weber, and Lachell Workman

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Zora Murff, Youthful Offenders 6698 and 3581, 2013

Zora Murff, Youthful Offenders 6698 and 3581, 2013

Opening Reception: Friday, June 16th, 6-9 PM

Where We Land examines the influence of place and environment on cultural perceptions and presumed narratives surrounding race, violence, and complicity in an age of viral sharing.

Omaha, NE – Where We Land, a three-person exhibition opening in the Wanda D. Ewing Gallery at The Union for Contemporary Art, 2423 North 24th Street, features photographer Zora Murff, Jordan Weber, and Lachell Workman. The exhibition runs June 16 until August 12, 2017. Admission is free and The Wanda D. Ewing Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 Where We Land explores the landscape of disproportionate violence against people of color. Place and environment influence cultural perceptions surrounding race, violence, complicity, and imminent danger, and in turn, those perceptions affect the ongoing relationship of communities to the spaces they occupy. Despite the increased visibility and transparency of incidents of brutality through viral sharing on social media, public reactions to these scenes are deeply polarized and influenced by geographical divides that our digital access has not successfully bridged. Photographer Zora Murff (Lincoln, NE), and multidisciplinary artists Jordan Weber (Des Moines, IA) and Lachell Workman (Bridgeport, CT) use the physical materials and visual details of urban and natural environments as a vehicle to explore presumed narratives and the gaps between contradictory interpretations of shared views of violence.

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KINETIC at KANEKO
Jun
16
to Oct 14

KINETIC at KANEKO

Admission: Free

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

KINETIC at KANEKO explores the art and science of movement and the perception of motion. This collaborative exhibition season will feature stunning visual art, interactive sculpture, and experiential learning opportunities developed to strengthen the understanding of kinetics in everyday life.

Artists:
Blumen Lumen
John Buck
Cassia Kite
Michael McGinnis
Vijay Olander
Ralfonso
George Rickey
Bruce Shapiro
Tom Sitzman
Larry Sosso
Mark di Suvero
tbd. Dance Collective
Omaha Under the Radar
Dr. Shane Farritor
Dr. Nick Stergiou
Dr. Graham Ulicy

Collaborators:
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands
Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands
Brownville Flatwater Folk Art Museum
Creighton University
HDR Inc.
RDG Planning & Design
Sheldon Museum of Art
Studio Fackler
University of Nebraska at Omaha Department of Biomechanics
Virtual Incision
Kinetic Art Organization
Gallery 72
Connect Gallery
Sisyphus Industries

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Peter Fankhauser & Jaimie Warren: Together Forever
Jun
9
to Aug 6

Peter Fankhauser & Jaimie Warren: Together Forever

Opening reception: Friday, June 9th, 6 - 9 PM, with a performative artist talk at 8 PM.

The notion of immortality authenticates itself in repetition.  We survive after death only inasmuch as our names are repeated.  The memory of our desperate foibles, stunning defeats, or ill-earned victories must first become the stuff of casual conversation: we the long since dead, becoming legends.  Like Marilyn Manson said, "...the key to longevity--and immortality, in a sense--has to do with transformation."  Stories travel and narratives transition with every shift in representational format.  Michael Jackson will forever be the world's biggest star, worst sex offender, or most innocent son, depending on who's doing the telling.  Together Forever pays homage to the act of remembering in its beautifully misshapen forms and perfect fallacy.

In Jaimie Warren's highly collaborative, community-based work, she memorializes her fallen heroes and totems of imagined affinity by conscripting remade images of her childhood idols into the canon of art history. Falling somewhere along the road between Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Neverland Ranch, ad hoc set design and vocal numbers become potent metaphors for immortality in Warren's videos.  Expendable materials become irreplaceable narrative tools and expendable lives are enshrined in 1080p hi-def digital showboating.  Freddy Mercury, George Michael, and Michael Jackson, in ratted out wigs and well worn body suits, remind us of forgetting--forgetting the wild, enduring infatuations of youth.  Warren draws her friends in close to sing and sway beside her in visually overloaded tributes to collective remembering.

Peter Fankhauser's “Justice of Decline” is an alternative reading of Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West or The Downfall of the Occident, as told from the perspective of Anna Nicole Smith through photo, video, and text based works.  Smith's genius for tragic comedy becomes a vehicle for the repudiation of tradition, or the ultimate negative freedom--no democracy; no ownership.  The memory of her life plays out as unlimited optimism, undermining and destroying itself through repeated slurred affirmations of self-love, always colored by doubt. Her decline immortalizes our own with each retelling and every wayward step.

Jaimie Warren (b. 1980, Waukesha, WI) "comes across as a force of nature, or at least pop culture" according to Roberta Smith of the New York Times, " whose work brims with messy promise. [Her photographs] indicate a talent for color and tactility (to say the least) as well as for rough-edged transformation that combines aspects of the work of Cindy Sherman, Sandy Skoglund and Alex Bag while channeling the spirits of Leigh Bowery, Divine and George Grosz.”  She is a 2017 Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA Artist-in Residence, a 2016 Maker’s Muse Awardee, a 2015 fellow in Interdisciplinary Arts from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a 2015 Abrons AIRspace resident.  Warren is also featured artist in ART21's documentary series "New York Close Up", and she is the recipient of a United States Presidential Scholars Program Teacher Recognition Award.  She lives and works in New York City.

Peter Fankhauser (b. 1980, Lincoln, NE) is a committed member of the MTV generation, brought up on television: music on television, television on film, film on the internet. Narrative’s mutation across different media platforms has become a recurring theme in his work and a primary preoccupation. He received an MFA from CUNY-City College in New York City and has shown at independent and alternative spaces nationally and abroad including Judson Memorial Church (New York City), Death By Audio (Brooklyn), Silent Barn (Brooklyn), AC Institute (New York City), and the Meltdown Festival (London). He currently lives and works in Omaha, NE. 

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Janet Biggs
Jun
3
to Sep 10

Janet Biggs

Janet Biggs (American, born 1959), A Step on the Sun, 2012, single-channel HD video, 16:9 format, 9:05 minutes, edition 2 of 5 + 2 AP. Courtesy the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York.

Janet Biggs (American, born 1959), A Step on the Sun, 2012, single-channel HD video, 16:9 format, 9:05 minutes, edition 2 of 5 + 2 AP. Courtesy the artist and Cristin Tierney Gallery, New York.

Admission: Free

Museum Hours: 
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm
Thursday, 10 am - 8 pm
Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm     
Closed Mondays and major holidays*
Hours may change for special exhibitions.

Janet Biggs creates videos, photographs, and performances that study the capacity of the human body to withstand intense physical demands. Her recent work has taken her to some of the most extreme environments in the world, including the Arctic Circle, a desert in China, and northern Ethiopia. A Riley CAP Gallery exhibition.

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EGGMAN2500: Mass Production, Manual Labour, Content Creation, Repetition, Madness & the Zen of Screenprinting
Jun
2
to Jul 28

EGGMAN2500: Mass Production, Manual Labour, Content Creation, Repetition, Madness & the Zen of Screenprinting

Opening Reception: Friday, June 2nd, 7-10 PM

"An artist is someone who produces things that people don't need to have, but that he- for some reason, thinks it would be a good idea to give them." -Andy Warhol

From Eggman:
To commemorate 25 years working in the screenprinting industry, I have created a new "limited edition" print. "EGGMAN2500" is a 2 color screenprint on recycled cardboard. Each print has been individually cut, hand pulled, and hand numbered to 2500. The entire run of prints will be available for free to all, one per person.

I wanted to make a piece that rides the line between fine art and the disposable by replacing traditional acid free, archival paper with used cereal and beer boxes. I wanted to challenge the concept of a limited edition by creating such a large run of prints using manual, DIY means. The repetition of images and the physical process of printing becomes a zen like experience for me.

Also on display will be supplemental drawings and prints, as well as misprints and other materials used in the process.

About the artist:
Eggman (aka Mike Scheef), artist, printer, drawer of 1000 wrestlers, cofounder of Caesium Gallery, Omaha

Petshop Gallery hours happen once a week and vary - or you can make an appointment - petshopgallery@gmail.com

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David Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily
Jun
1
to Aug 26

David Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily

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David Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, 2016 Erosion and Flood zone (left) (installation view detail), 2016 Water Purification zone (right) (installation view detail), 2016 Courtesy of the artist Photo: Courtesy of Tom Powel Imaging

David Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily, 2016
Erosion and Flood zone (left) (installation view detail), 2016
Water Purification zone (right) (installation view detail), 2016
Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Courtesy of Tom Powel Imaging

Hours:
Wednesday–11AM–5PM
Thursday–11AM–9PM
Friday–11AM–5PM
Saturday–11AM–5PM    

Throughout his practice, David Brooks investigates the tenuous relationship between ecological life and technological industry. In Continuous Service Altered Daily, Brooks presents every single part of a used 1976 John Deere 3300 combine harvester. The components are laid out in varying degrees of disassembly. Distinctive elements like the corn head and cab remain unaltered in weathered John Deere green, while other parts are sandblasted, removing rust, paint, and all traces of wear and tear; still others, like gears and fittings, are brass-plated, polished and housed in museum vitrines—akin to the traditional trappings of highbrow art objects or precious natural history displays.

The stunning array of dismantled machine parts, arranged in diverse systems of presentation, are organized according to the ecosystem service that they poetically represent. By design Brooks’s imposed taxonomy makes it impossible to conceive of the combine in its entirety or to ascertain the machine’s complete functionality. Similarly, an ecosystem integrates innumerable processes, many of them intangible or undetectable, into one whole. A combine harvester is the ultimate example of agricultural technology, the otherworldly design of its bulky metal body conceals the integration of all stages of the harvesting process into one machine designed to reap grain, a resource that the efficiency of a combine allows us to take for granted as eternally and inexpensively available. Continuous Service Altered Daily asks us to reexamine our perception of products gleaned from the landscape, oftentimes those too easily interpreted as “services” for personal use: water, food, clean air, climate, energy—things we have come to expect to be delivered to us forever.

David Brooks: Continuous Service Altered Daily is commissioned by The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and curated by Amy Smith-Stewart. The exhibition was presented at The Aldrich May 2, 2016–February 5, 2017 and was generously supported by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation and Brad and Sunny Goldberg. 

David Brooks (b. 1975, Brazil, IN) received his BFA from The Cooper Union in 2000 and his MFA from Columbia University in 2009. Brooks has exhibited at the Dallas Contemporary; Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY; Nouveau Musée National de Monaco; Sculpture Center, New York; Miami Art Museum; Changwon Sculpture Biennale, South Korea; Galerie für Landschaftskunst, Germany; the Goethe-Institut, New York; and MoMA/PS1, New York. Other major commissions include the Art Production Fund, New York; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York; Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY; the Cass Sculpture Foundation, United Kingdom; the deCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; and the Visual Arts Center, Austin. In 2010 he received a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, in 2012 and 2016 a research grant to the Ecuadorian and Colombian Amazon from the Coypu Foundation, and in 2016, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (SARF). He lives and works in New York City and is currently on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art.

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Jeff King: "you're beautiful, and nobody cares"
May
5
to Jul 1

Jeff King: "you're beautiful, and nobody cares"

Opening Reception: Friday, May 5, 7-10 PM
Gallery Hours: Fridays 6-8 PM or by appointment.

From Jeff:
So I'm from Omaha. I've been working professionally as an artist for approximately 15 years. I kinda stepped away from art for a while. I'm not sure what made me want to do this show, other than some kind of search for relevance in my life. I'm pretty sure that you can stop making art, but it's very difficult to stop being an artist. I'm a busy guy, but I'm enjoying making work when I can. 

This exhibition has been weird for me. The title, " you're beautiful and nobody cares," is about a general feeling I have about the world right now. Weird because I never thought I would think of the world this way. It means to me that I have noticed a significant difference between the Obama era and the beginning of the Trump " presidency." It's got me asking " is this really where we are at as a country?" I really feel like individuals are living lost from their individuality, and simply lumped together as some kind of generational name as though this is all that matters as far as an argument or opinion is concerned. I don't want to deny you or myself the opportunity to be a solvent human being, why does this country? As war is pervasive, as human rights diminish, as money becomes more important than life or respect for life, we as a whole are fucking lost. So much rides on good leadership, but obviously a lot of people disagree about what that means. We are a nation divided. " you're beautiful and nobody cares," as far as the work is concerned is not overtly political, but the meaning is. 

Anyway, I would like to think that the dumbing down of America is not really going to get worse, but it probably will. 

**Special performance by Kyle "GB" Oppold of Arliss Nancy/Drag the River ! 9pm
http://www.arlissnancy.com/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq06G2vVLek
**

Exhibition runs May 5th - June 30th
 

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Cassils: Monument Push
Apr
29
4:00 PM16:00

Cassils: Monument Push

Free and open to the public. Free parking available. 

Cassils, along with community members, advocates, and allies, will physically push a 1,300 pound bronze monument, Resilience Of The 20%, to sites of resistance and places where violence against marginalized peoples have occurred in downtown Omaha. With the world premiere of Monument Push in Omaha, Cassils calls attention to overlooked trauma and the perseverance of the human spirit—raising questions about memory, witnessing, and forgotten histories.

The performance will begin and end at Bemis Center. 

More information: bemiscenter.org/monumentpush

The public is also invited to an artist talk by Cassils on Thursday, April 27, 6–7 PM, at UNO Criss Library detailing their practice and current exhibition, Phantom Revenant, at Bemis Center through April 29.

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Art + Science
Apr
29
1:00 PM13:00

Art + Science

Free and open to the public. Free parking available.

1–2 PM–Michael Hoff, Ph.D.–Greek Archeology and the True Story of the Parthenon Marbles
2–3 PM–Sofia Jawed-Wessel, Ph.D.–Women's Reproduction
3–4 PM–Dr. Karina Blair, Ph.D.–The Science of Trauma

The Bemis Center is excited to participate in Nebraska Science Festival 2017! The Nebraska Science Festival aims to stimulate curiosity and excite the minds of children and adults by engaging them in the amazing world of science. Three guest speakers will present on topics examined in Bemis Center's current exhibitions. Michael Hoff, Ph.D., Hixon-Lied Professor of Art History at the University of Nebraska, will present on Greek archaeology and the true story of the Parthenon Marbles; Sofia Jawed-Wessel, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UNO School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, will speak about Women's Reproduction; and Karina Blair, Ph.D., Neuroscientist at Boys Town National Research Hospital, will talk about the science of trauma.

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Bear Hug
Apr
28
7:00 PM19:00

Bear Hug

One night only
Friday, April 28, 7-10:30 PM
Free


Organized by Josh Powell and Joel Damon, Bear Hug is a one night event that transforms the soon to be renovated building on 18th and St. Mary's Ave. in Omaha, NE into exhibition space.  Participating artists include Jamie Danielle Hardy, Rob Gilmer, Ella P Weber, Nolan Tredway, Launa Bacon, Thomas Prinz, Sarah Rowe, Dan Crane & Will Anderson, Josh Powell, Alex Jochim, Omaha Under The Radar, Ian Treadway, Christopher Prinz, Peter Goche & Samantha Krukowski, Joel Damon, Jake Gillespie, Tim, Peter Fankhauser, Michael Villarreal, Laura Simpson, and Jim Schroeder

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Angie Seykora: Part to Part
Apr
14
to May 27

Angie Seykora: Part to Part

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Opening Reception: April 14, 6-9 p.m.

Omaha-based artist Angie Seykora exhibits "Part to Part" - she received an MFA in Sculpture from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.  She is a 2016 recipient of the Nebraska Arts Council’s Distinguished Individual Artist Fellowship award. She earned an Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture award from the International Sculpture Center, from which she was selected for the fully funded Art-St-Urban Sculpture Residency in St. Urban, Switzerland. Seykora is currently an instructor of sculpture at Creighton University and participates as an artist mentor for Omaha youth through the Joslyn Art Museum’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program.  She exhibits her work nationally and internationally.

As rapidly as industry produces new technology, artists are quick to capitalize on its creative potential. Since the 1950s the relationship between art and industry has gained momentum, particularly surrounding plastics. Modern Art movements such as Minimalism and Process Art, and historical collaborations between artists and scientists including Experiments in Art and Technology (1967-2001), generated a discourse that embraced, investigated and critiqued the cultural impact of our new synthetic frontier.  Plastics can be molded and shaped with seemingly limitless potential; because they are manufactured in vast quantities, at a low cost, for myriad uses, plastics have affected -- or infected -- every aspect of daily life.

More than half a century has passed since synthetic materials inundated our day-to-day. The future lauded by proponents of industrial investment in synthetic technologies is now. As plastic materials create the opportunity and flexibility to manufacture anything, they have also contributed to a breakdown of material differentiation. Everything becomes homogenous; we stop noticing the extent to which we manufacture and use plastics simply because we can. This legacy of early collaboration between the arts and industry continues to provoke material dialog in Angie Seykora's Part to Part exhibition.

Seykora is part of an evolving discourse of recognition and mitigation, questioning how we make sense of our plastic abundance.  The Omaha-based artist builds her ongoing language through craft, labor, material, and engages the audience by drawing on collective sense memories. Through the process of disassembling and reassembling -- by hand and not by machine -- Seykora creates the opportunity for discovery and reflection that industry cannot afford. Part to Part erases boundaries between "art," "sculpture," and "craft," while finding variance between the uses and physical properties of common plastics.  The artist's process brings clarity to the impact of industry on our collective culture; what may have once seemed like noise in the background comes into full view. By transforming ubiquitous products, Seykora challenges perception, the sustainability of cultural production, and how we place value on the things we keep or choose to part with.  

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Derek Courtney: Sameness Without End
Apr
7
to May 26

Derek Courtney: Sameness Without End

April 7th - May 26th
Opening Reception: April 7th, 7-10pm

*NEW Gallery Hours: Fridays 6-8pm or by appointment (petshopgallery@gmail.com)
Petshop exhibitions are volunteer curated by Jamie Danielle Hardy & Alex Jochim.

Derek Courtney spent the first 18 years of his life in Putnam County, West Virginia before moving to Omaha, Nebraska. He studied at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, completing his BFA thesis in 1996. He was deeply inspired by art teacher Caryl Toth, who taught him to make art from any and every available resource. To this day, Derek prefers to paint on paper.

Derek’s art starts with recognizable forms that are gradually painted away, emerging as abstract, pulsing amalgamations of colors, shapes, and textures. As a means of avoiding the thematic pigeon-hole, he obscures figurative clarity with abstract layers. Only mere fragments of the original content are allowed to remain.

Currently Derek spends his days earning a living as a cog in the wheel of a very large machine. Any free time he can wrangle is devoted to his family and making art at the Caesium Gallery, a gallery space that Derek co-manages with Mike Scheef in South Omaha.
www.derekcourtney.com

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Voice Squared: Shape Note Singing
Apr
6
8:00 PM20:00

Voice Squared: Shape Note Singing

April 6th, 8 - 11pm


Join us Thursday, April 6 for a shape note singing event. Shape note singing is a true American musical tradition originating in New England. With it's simultaneously beautiful and haunting sound, shape note singing is seeing a resurgence in modern-day culture. All who attend are invited to join in the singing. This event is free and open to the public.
 

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Unapologetically Woman
Mar
14
to Apr 4

Unapologetically Woman

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Photo by Dana Damewood

Photo by Dana Damewood

Featuring some of the works of the late artist Wanda Ewing and local artist Patty Talbert. Showcasing women’s essence as powerful, bold, unapologetic and a gift to all the world.

Read more about this exhibition on our blog!

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Mina Bárcenas: Apostillas
Feb
16
to Apr 22

Mina Bárcenas: Apostillas

Feb 16 - Apr 22, 2017

El Museo Latino Viewing Hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday - 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday - 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The exhibit Apostillas by Mina Bárcenas includes a selection of contemporary photographs and the writings of 20 authors, each inspired by one of the photographs.  Mina Bárcenas was born in Cuba and now lives and works in Mérida, Mexico.

 

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Virginia Beahan
Feb
11
to May 7

Virginia Beahan

Virginia Beahan, Christina Brushing Gram’s Hair, 2005, chromogenic development print, 18 ½ x 23 ½ inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Virginia Beahan, Christina Brushing Gram’s Hair, 2005, chromogenic development print, 18 ½ x 23 ½ inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Feb 2 - May 7, 2017

Joslyn Art Museum
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm
Thursday, 10 am - 8 pm
Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm     
Closed Mondays and major holidays*

Virginia Beahan’s photographs tell a story that is at once demanding, joyous, surprising, and painful. In the fall of 2002, Beahan and her husband helped her 88-year-old mother sell her house in Yardley, Pennsylvania, and moved her to their home in rural New Hampshire. In failing health, her mother’s doctors believed she would die within the coming months. She soon recovered, however, and for the first time in many decades, Beahan and her mother began to spend their days together, learning to accommodate each other’s needs and lives. Suffering from the early stages of dementia, losing her memory and her ability to process information, her mother could never be left alone. Accustomed to a busy schedule of teaching, traveling, and making photographs, Beahan felt trapped by these unexpected circumstances. Turning to her camera to bring structure and familiarity to a new routine, Beahan created a remarkable document of her family as it navigated what might otherwise be heartbreaking circumstances.

"In a reversal of roles, I took care of her, and we were constant companions. She went with me everywhere: lectures and concerts at Dartmouth College where I teach, dinners with neighbors, swimming at the local pond. As her health failed she spent more time sleeping, but she still enjoyed forays into the outdoors, basking in the warm sunshine and the fragrance of the garden. Five years later, my mother died at home when she was 93 years old. Although this was an emotional and difficult time, I have photographs that celebrate the beauty and fragility of these intimate moments with the people we love and in the places we call home."

Beginning with portraits of her mother and daughter, Beahan soon expanded her subjects to include her husband, brother, cousins, and family friends — the people who surrounded her mother and her family throughout this time. Beahan’s photographs face a difficult situation with directness and compassion, without flinching from her mother’s condition or succumbing to sentimentality. They reveal a painful transition that every family faces, yet one that is rarely shared with the outside world. Beahan captured the end of her mother’s life with openness and generosity, and a belief in the fundamental strength that binds together those we love and hold dear.

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Dissipation: An Act of Balance
Feb
3
to Mar 1

Dissipation: An Act of Balance

|Petshop invites you to the opening reception for "Dissipation: An Act of Balance" // Installation work from Ian Tredway and Chase McClaren on Friday, February 3rd, 2016, 7-10pm, during Benson First Friday.

The duo will explore contrast while finding balance, especially in a world that is increasingly complex and daring. Through materials they will attempt to construct situations that tackle ideas such as complacency versus growth, synthetic versus organic materials, and the idealizations human need to try to control the uncontrollable.

About the Artists:
Ian Tredway:
Ian Tredway is a Nebraskan artist living and working in Lincoln. Ian received a Bachelors of Fine Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,with an additional residency at Santa Reparata School of International Art in Florence, Italy. Tredway uses materials such as cloth and plastic weed barriers, stains mixed with stain-remover, tapes, and adhesives to entertain multiple contradicting ideas at once in an attempt to find structure. His work has won him the Jean R Faulkner Memorial Award and has recently shown work Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, as well as his first solo debut at Project Project.
iantredway@gmail.com // www.iantredway.com // 402.432.1400

Chase McClaren: 
McClaren earned his Bachelor's in Fine Art from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln with an emphasis in sculpture and installations, in 2015. Soon after, Chase had an artist residency at the Santa Reparata School of International Art in Florence, Italy. Using natural elements and man made materials, McClaren creates compositions that pair human design with subtle organic variations. Highlighting the natural processes of decay, McClaren’s artworks reference the tension between the human need to idealize the environment and the inevitable, persistent forces of nature. His works have achieved multiple awards including the Perry Family Award and the Jean R Faulkner Memorial Award. Recently, Chase has shown works in the Still Point Art Quarterly, and Upstream Gallery.
http://chasemcclaren.com/

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Chimeras
Feb
2
to Apr 29

Chimeras

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Rashayla Marie Brown You Can't See Me, Fool as part of the installation Lost and Found But Still Can't Be Seen (An Altar for My Aura), 2017 Mixed Media Dimensions variable Courtesy the artist

Rashayla Marie Brown
You Can't See Me, Fool as part of the installation Lost and Found But Still Can't Be Seen (An Altar for My Aura), 2017
Mixed Media
Dimensions variable
Courtesy the artist

February 2–April 29, 2017

In ancient Greek mythology, Chimera was a hybrid creature merging goat, lion, and snake body parts into a new whole. Today, Chimera is a term that describes a single organism with multiple, genetically-distinct cell lines. From bacteria and viruses in vaccines, horse urine in some birth control and hormone therapies, and the possibilities of pig and primate organ transplants, human and animal bodies are increasingly integrated in medical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological realms. Chimeras is a group exhibition that explores the boundaries between these socially-constructed categories.

But what qualities define who is human and what is animal? While our minds, consciousness, and a capacity for complex thought makes humans human, our most fundamental biological functions, including the necessity of eating and defecating and the inevitability of dying, keeps us animal. Composed primarily of women artists, reproduction and the biological functions of the female body are important themes in Chimeras. Brooklyn-based Leah DeVun's photographs feature breastfeeding women wearing a variety of milk-pumping apparatus that make them appear animal-like while acknowledging how technological interventions in “natural” bodily functions are often necessary. Miriam Simun also enlisted the collaboration of breastfeeding mothers. Simun used donated breast milk to make cheese and offered samples at an art gallery she transformed into The Lady Cheese Shop. A video and diagram detail the production cycle for making Human Cheese while raising questions about food production, reproductive labor, and the commodification of human and animal bodies.

Chicago’s Rashayla Marie Brown addresses reproduction from a different angle: mechanical and digital. Her photograph You Can't See Me Fool is a self-portrait of the artist as her grandmother dressed in multiple layers of leopard print. The image quickly “went viral” and is frequently reproduced in print and online media. For Chimeras, Brown compiles the archive of her photograph’s many lives, in a sense, recapturing this fugitive and wild image. Julia Oldham of Portland, Oregon performs the ritual-like behavior spiders and insects use to communicate. The bugs provide the soundtrack for Oldham’s intricate dance-like movements, which call for a reconsideration of the choreography humans unknowingly repeat everyday to communicate with each other.

Lucie Strecker and Klaus Spiess, who collaborate in Vienna, approach questions of life and death through the work of Joseph Beuys. The late German artist often used the hare as a spiritual medium that transgresses planes of existence, notions rooted in European folktales of the Hare’s Woman. Stecker and Spiess vivify the archived blood of one of Beuys’s hares and keep the cells alive via a cooling system that sets a different biological time into motion. The actions occurring within the petri dish function as a performance with the growth rate of the cells timed to the auction values of Beuys's artwork and the trading value of livestock on the New York stock exchange. Brooklyn-based Kate Clark also enlivens the dead when she transposes human facial features onto taxidermied animal bodies. Each pair of animals enact a different relational dynamic. Clark’s sculptures embody the ways in which human characteristics are projected onto animals, but, like all of the work in the exhibition, equally suggests how humans are more animal-like than we accept.

Chimeras is curated by Risa Puleo, Bemis Center Curator-in-Residence.

The Curator-in-Residence program's inaugural year is made possible by Carol Gendler and the Mammel Foundation. Chimeras is supported, in part, by Joan Gibson and Don Wurster. Additional support is provided by Melanie and Fred Clark and Catherine and Terry Ferguson. 

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Cassils: Phantom Revenant
Feb
2
to Apr 29

Cassils: Phantom Revenant

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ecoming An Image, Performance still from performance at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy the artist.

ecoming An Image, Performance still from performance at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy the artist.

February 2–April 29, 2017

Illustrating the limits of endurance and empathy, interdisciplinary artist Cassils produces potent evidence of unseen violence while questioning the act of witnessing in contemporary media culture. The exhibition and its title, Phantom Revenant, speaks to the double invisibility of LGBTQI+ people across the world and the ways this violence is archived in public consciousness. Cassils exposes this timely concern through three works that aggressively bring cyclical forms of oppression, disregarded histories, and haunting realities to the forefront.

Challenging the audience's ability to see while bringing an invisible history into focus, the performance Becoming An Image (2013–present) is a body-intensive attack on a 2,000 pound clay block. Performed in total darkness, Cassils is visible only through the flash of a camera that momentarily illuminates the scene and sears the assault into the viewer’s retinas as an afterimage. The corresponding sounds of physical exertion and exhaustion break through the darkness as abrupt reminders of Cassils presence. The camera’s flash not only illuminates Cassils’s confrontation, but the audience surrounding their assault as well. Cassils’s performance implicates each viewer as participant and turns the act of viewing into an ethical dilemma. This visceral exchange between the artist, audience, and clay monolith archives—through the act of collective witnessing and accumulated strikes upon the clay—an insistence of being seen.

Each blow upon the clay mass makes visible the physical and emotional violence directed toward LGTBQI+ people. After a previous iteration of the performance Becoming An Image, Cassils cast the clay block, first in concrete, to ultimately make a bronze cast. Cassils deploys the history and function of monuments, which traditionally memorialize significant people and acts, to instead memorialize the undocumented, overlooked, and often purposefully ignored histories. When cast in bronze, the clay block became The Resilience of the 20% (2016), a title that points to an appalling statistic from 2012 when murders of trans individuals increased by 20%. In late April, the Bemis Center will premiere a new processional performance where Cassils will push the 1,200 pound bronze from the Bemis Center to locations in downtown Omaha where acts of violence against LGTBQI+ people have occurred.

The six-channel video installation Powers that Be further extends the theme of witness-as-participant in violence. In 2015, Cassils staged a brutal two-person fight with an invisible opponent in a parking garage, lit by car headlights. Viewers of this performance were encouraged to document the event with their cells phones; their video footage provided the source material for the resulting six-channel video installation Powers That Be, (2015–2017). As an installation, Powers That Be reverses the terms of the original performance as well as Becoming An Image by putting the audience at the center of the attack. The amount and intensity of information offered during Powers That Be is overwhelming, calling attention to the trend to document violence while failing to intervene.

Accompanying Cassils’s exhibition, a display of objects from the Queer Omaha Archives, housed at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Libraries Archives & Special Collections, connects the artwork to a local context and attempts to bring visibility to lost, disregarded, or forgotten histories of LGTBQI+ people in Nebraska.

A dark presence runs throughout Phantom Revenant, bringing to light the restrictive forces of power present within and beyond the lived realities of flyover country; ultimately speaking to the the radical unrepresentability of certain forms of trauma and violence.

Cassils: Phantom Revenant is curated by Alex Priest, Bemis Center Exhibitions Manager.

Cassils is from Montreal, Canada and is now based in Los Angeles. Their work uses the body in a sculptural fashion, integrating feminism, body art, and gay male aesthetics. Recent solo exhibitions include MU Eindhoven (Netherlands), Trinty Square Video (Toronto), and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (New York). Cassils’s work has also been featured at Institute for Contemporary Art and The National Theatre (London), MUCA Roma, (Mexico City), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (Los Angeles), Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City), ANTI Contemporary Performance Festival (Kuopio, Finland), Museo da Imagem e do Som (São Paulo, Brazil), Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo (San José, Costa Rica), and Deutsches Historishes Museum (Berlin, Germany). Cassils is the recipient of a 2015 Creative Capital Award. They have also received the inaugural ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, Rema Hort Mann Visual Arts Fellowship, California Community Foundation Grant, MOTHA (Museum of Transgender Hirstory) award, and Visual Artist Fellowship from the Canada Council of the Arts. Their work has been featured in New York Times, Wired, The Guardian, TDR, Performance Research, Art Journal, and Vogue Brazil and was the subject of the monograph Cassils published by MU Eindhoven in 2015. Cassils received a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in Halifax, Canada and attended the MFA program at California Institute of the Arts from 2000-2002 on a highly coveted merit scholarship.

Cassils uses plural gender-neutral pronouns (they, them, their) and asks that journalists do likewise when referring to them. This plurality reflects, through language, the position Cassils occupies as an artist. 

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Paula Wilson: The Backward Glance
Feb
2
to Apr 29

Paula Wilson: The Backward Glance

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Paual Wilson Lady, 2016 Acrylic, oil, woodblock print, monotype, gold leaf, on canvas, muslin, and board Dimension variable Courtesy the artist

Paual Wilson
Lady, 2016
Acrylic, oil, woodblock print, monotype, gold leaf, on canvas, muslin, and board
Dimension variable
Courtesy the artist

February 2–April 29, 2017

Paula Wilson’s work in painting, printmaking, video, and installation generates a world simultaneously realistic and otherworldly. Dense layering of color, image, and pattern in her pieces act as a visual metaphor for the complex stratum of histories and cultures that inform the work.

For her exhibition, Paula Wilson: The Backward Glance, the artist creates a processional space wherein ancient themes meet contemporary expression. Mining her ongoing investigations of race, identity, and objectification of the female body, this mise-en-scéne transports viewers into a mythical creation story composed of paintings, video, and prints on fabric. The six columns in the gallery’s center are a reimagining of the Athenian Acropolis’s caryatids—supporting marble pillars carved as draped female figures. In 1803, Lord Elgin removed one of the caryatids for his own collection, now housed in the British Museum. Wilson’s stoic females allude to this controversial event and show the five remaining caryatids as variant profiles of the artist herself. By seizing the identity of these historic heroines, the artist takes control and constructs an alternative narrative—a new and imaginative way forward for the displaced figure separated from her five sisters.

The black-and-white, four-sided caryatids on the square pillars give way to a colorful wall-sized collage. Released from the static block, each portrait becomes its own figure and strikes a bold pose against a cerulean sky. Their contemporary outfits, layered like spolia, show a fiercely creative spirit while the grouping argues for a bi-racial and multi-faceted embrace of self.  Holding their own, goddess like, they are one. We and the caryatids are free to move within new and imagined landscapes of our own.

Based in Carrizozo, New Mexico, Paula Wilson is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work is included in the collections of The Studio Museum Harlem (New York), Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven), Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (St. Louis), and Saatchi Gallery (London), among others. Previous solo exhibitions have been at Cherry & Lucic (Portland), The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia), and the Center for Contemporary Arts (Santa Fe). She holds a Masters of Fine Art from Columbia University and presently co-runs the artist-founded organization MoMAZoZo and the Carrizozo Colony.

Paula Wilson: The Backward Glance is curated by Chris Cook, Bemis Center Executive Director.

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Alexandria Smith: Try a Little Tenderness
Jan
14
to Mar 25

Alexandria Smith: Try a Little Tenderness

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Alexandria Smith explores the transformative girlhood experiences that shape the women we become as she illuminates the complexities of Black identity. Try a Little Tenderness presents Smith’s new and recent paintings in which she obsessively deconstructs images of the female body. Legs, hands, and pigtails, for instance, become characters and landscapes—a topography of the artist’s psyche. Although her abstract tableaux have been interpreted as performances or aftermaths of violence, they actually represent bodies in flux: not-quite-adolescent girls beginning to develop senses of themselves as independent from the environments they inhabit. Collectively, they tell a mythical coming-of-age story that centers on the mental and emotional processes of self-discovery.

Ms. Smith is the first recipient of the Wanda D. Ewing Commission. The annual initiative supports the production and presentation of new work by a woman artist of the African diaspora.

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