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Gallery Talk & Video Screening with Artist Mathieu Borysevicz at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

Pick-up trucks and department store mannequins; no parking signs and office buildings. Digital photographer Mathieu Borysevicz takes the inundation of images we encounter everyday and explores how it informs our personal space and visual perceptions. He examines this effect in his current exhibition people/places/things on view at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts through May 28. And beginning in late April, his ambitious billboard installation Untitled (Location: Omaha, NE) will provide a thought-provoking point of contemplation for drivers and pedestrians along the busy traffic corridor of 90th and Maple Streets. The New York-based artist will present a special Gallery Talk & Video Screening to speak about this installation and his current show on Thursday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m. This event is free, and the public is warmly invited to attend.

With the advent of digital technology, image production and reproduction has accelerated beyond the human ability to decipher or process information. Borysevicz takes news items from the Internet and enlarges them to near life-size in an attempt to illustrate the ideological gap between producer and recipient of social/political imagery and their ability to affect change. He similarly extracts images from original issues of magazines such as Newsweek, National Geographic and Playboy indiscriminately reproduces them. His series The Westerners resulted from a project completed in Hangzhou, China a few months prior to his Bemis Center residency. While Westerners themselves are scarce in China, these mannequins are ubiquitous and often outnumber customers and staff in stores. Constituting a population in and of themselves, these subject/objects offer intriguing and provocative glimpses into cultural transference and desire.

For his site-specific billboard installation on the corner of 90th and Maple Streets, Borysevicz provides a view from the sign itself as it looks down over the busy intersection. This vantage point cuts across four traffic lanes clustered with chain stores, strip malls and advertising. The artist has been developing a series of such billboards over the past six years, and he creates them in response to the proliferation of large-scale advertising upon the urban environment. By providing a direct, uncensored image of a well-trafficked road, Borysevicz provides viewers with a starting point for inquiring into how such structures and images affect the perceptions of our everyday worlds. Although highways and byways are public spaces, we view these places from the privacy of our cars. For this reason, the roadside encroaches onto our common consciousness, neon lights and franchise signs permanently etching their messages onto our collective identity. In reflecting on the project, the artist adds: “It is also an attempt to address a larger, fresher audience and therefore to stimulate contemplation in a different context, or better yet, to stimulate collective déjà-vu.”

From China to Nebraska, the digital images captured by Mathieu Borysevicz work as a kind of artistic archaeology, borrowing images and turning them into iconic representations of our cultures, our communities and our lives. Come to the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts on Thursday, April 21, and learn about this artist and his fascinating work.

About the Artist:
Mathieu Borysevicz received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1993. He also studied at the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and the Capital Normal University in Beijing. He has received numerous awards, including an Asian Cultural Fellowship in 2002, and reviews of his work have appeared in such prestigious publications as Art in America and The New York Times. People/places/things, a current exhibition of Borysevicz’s work, is on view at the Bemis Center through May 28, 2005. Untitled (Omaha Nebraska) is made possible by the Nimoy Foundation, established during the past year by Susan Bay Nimoy and actor/director/photographer Leonard Nimoy to recognize, encourage and support the work of artists, and the Nebraska Arts 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
E-mail: info@bemiscenter.org