Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Helen Brough: Cataclysmic Hypotheses

Whether melting polar ice caps and tsunamis, forest fires and earthquakes or hurricanes and massive floods, we live in an age in which the atmosphere seems increasingly beyond human control. Artist Helen Brough posits what effects global warming may have on the disintegration of civilization in her solo show Cataclysmic Hypotheses, on view at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts from November 10, 2006 through January 20, 2007. An Opening Reception takes place Friday, November 10th, from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The artist will also present a Gallery Talk on Saturday, November 11th, at 12:00 noon to discuss her work and exhibition. Both events are FREE, and the public is warmly invited to attend.

Brough translates her own vague, unconscious dreams of catastrophes and merges them with haunting recollections of disasters seen in film, television, newspapers or the web. Both fiction and reality generate her imaginary scenarios of iconic contemporary architecture as it succumbs to the elements and becomes nothing more than ruins. Collectively and sequentially, Brough’s compositions are heavily influenced by the prints and engravings of the Italian neoclassicist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720- 1778). During a visit to Rome in the 1740s, Piranesi became intrigued with the vestiges of ancient Rome, and he rendered 135 images eventually bound in Antichita Romane (Roman Antiquities) that captivated all of Europe. Despite the devastation that Piranesi so exquisitely captured, he also rendered the beauty of ruins being quietly overtaken by nature. Brough similarly shows the effects of nature on architecture. She uses diagrams to exemplify the deterioration of possible future moments. Painted enamel and fired glass both reveal layers of flowing ink lines, inspired by Japanese calligraphy. These painted scenes graphically depict the places in frozen cataclysmic moments. Brough places these depictions into acrylic boxes, which simulate a “window of time” through which the viewer can witness fabricated progressions of destruction. Says the artist: “Fragile as the world’s jarring fractions and events, these display windows transparently render imagined forecasts of moments.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to view Helen Brough’s Cataclysmic Hypotheses, a show certain to prompt deeper reflections on global warming, natural catastrophes and future of our planet.

About the Artist:
Helen Brough is a British painter, drawer, sculptor and installation artist. She was educated at the Chelsea School of Art in London, achieving a BA Honors First Class and a MA in sculpture. Her awards include the Prix de Rome prize at the British school in Rome, the Prince Charles travel scholarship and a grant from the Pollock/Krasner Foundation. The Soros Foundation has additionally funded her exhibitions in Romania and Hungary. In 2003 Brough had her first solo show in New York at Kristen Frederickson Contemporary Art in Tribeca. Since then she has been awarded a Triangle residency for six months at Dumbo, located in Brooklyn, as well as a series of group shows, including projects 04 at the Carriage house, Islip Art Museum. Her works are included in the permanent collections of the National Art Gallery in Budapest, Hungary, the Cantor Fitzgerald collection in New York, NY, and the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE.

The Bemis Center's exhibition program is sponsored, in part, by the generous
support of the following:

Clark Creative Group
Duncan Family Foundation
Embassy Suites Hotel
Nebraska Arts Council
National Endowment for the Arts
Omaha Steaks
Upstream Brewing Co.

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Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 South 12th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
Admission and Parking: FREE
Phone:: 402.341.7130
E-mail: info@bemiscenter.org