Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts


Three Extraordinary Exhibitions, One Fabulous Opening Night December 3 2004!

Three Extraordinary Exhibitions, One Fabulous Opening Night
at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

Following the thunderous auction success of this past weekend, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts refuses to rest on its laurels. Instead, the Center is introducing three exciting exhibitions into its expansive gallery spaces and invites the public to come and experience art by visionary artists from Nebraska, the United Kingdom and Pakistan. On Friday, December 3 the Bemis Center is holding an opening reception from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. to celebrate the new shows Nebraska Now: 2004 Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship Recipients, Sabeen Raja: It’s a Small World and Charlotte McGowan-Griffith: Paper Heart, all of which run through February 14, 2005. The public is warmly invited to attend this free, all-ages event.

Nebraska Now features twelve Individual Artist Fellowship (IAF) recipients chosen by the Nebraska Arts Council (NAC) based exclusively on the excellence of their submissions. From sculpture to ceramics, painting to printmaking, Nebraska Now highlights the extraordinary artwork of Nebraska’s artists. Photographer Lisa Bang Hoffman captures commonplace childhood moments, but ones that are far from idyllic. Printmaker Debora Oden’s work is abstract but equally as riveting. Painter Benjamin Darling’s landscapes of the Great Plains are more realistically rendered, but infused with an almost surreal sense of awe. Tom T. Towater’s ceramic sculptures suggest both human and animal forms, deriving their shapes from body organs, bones or archeological artifacts. And this represents just a fraction of the phenomenal talent on view in Nebraska Now.

In It’s a Small World, Pakistani artist Sabeen Raja draws on the centuries-old miniature manuscript traditions of Pakistan, India and Iran and creates paintings filled with lush colors, masterful brushwork and painstaking details. This, however, is where comparisons with the Eastern Asian art tradition end. Raja loads her miniatures with twenty-first century references, such as French fries and soft drinks, in order to explore various aspects of daily life in contemporary society. Whether humorous or humiliating, these works provide insightful glimpses into contemporary culture.

London-based Charlotte McGowan-Griffith similarly turns a traditional artistic medium into something entirely new. Using the Asian art-form of paper cut-outs, the British artist is inspired by folklore, Gothic literature, comic books and Expressionist cinema, and she explores themes such as evil enchantment, mutation, death, horror and mayhem through her cutouts. Paper Heart fittingly highlights McGowan-Griffith’s intricate, compelling creations of nightmarish figures, web-like carpets or frightening scenes.

From the Nebraska to Pakistan, Lincoln to London, there is something for everyone in these three very different but thoroughly powerful exhibitions. Join us at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts on Friday, December 3, and experience these three exciting new exhibitions. This gallery opening night is a perfect opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate remarkable art from near and far.

Support for "Nebraska Now" is provided, in part by, Clark Creative Group, Douglas County Tourism Fund, First National Bank, Omaha Steaks, National Endowment for the Arts, Nebraska Arts Council and RDg Planning and Design. Additional support for "Paper Heart" is provided by the Britsh Council.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 South 12th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
12th and Leavenworth
Admission and Parking: FREE
Phone:: 402.341.7130
Fax:: 402.341.9791