Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Wendel White: Manifest (Nebraska) | Carver Bank

November 8, 2013–January 3, 2014
Opening Reception: November 8, 6pm–8pm
Artist Talk: November 8, 7pm

New Jersey-based artist Wendel White photographs objects, documents and images that relate to the history of African Americans in slavery, the abolition of slavery, Reconstruction and the Civil Rights era. For Manifest (Nebraska), he focuses specifically on the history of black Omaha, extending and complicating the rhetoric surrounding contemporary racial issues.

White created the photographs in this portfolio with a large format, film-based camera placed very close to the subject. The subjects of his photographs include objects, documents, photographs and books stored in cases and file cabinets as treasured historical artifacts. The outcome of this effort transformed the usually small and often fragile remnants of the struggle for freedom and equality into images larger in scale than the original subjects. The artist photographed these artifacts while an Artist-in-Residence at the Bemis Center in 2011, during which time he was granted access to collections at the Great Plains Black History Museum, the Douglas County Historical Society, the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, the Brownville Historical Society and the Durham Museum during his residency.

In commenting on his work, White says: “I am increasingly interested in the residual power of the material remains of the past. The ability of objects to transcend lives, centuries and ultimately millennia offers a remarkable mechanism for folding time and for bringing the past and the present into a shared space that is uniquely suited to artistic exploitation. While they are remarkable as visual evidence of lives and events, I also intend the viewer to consider this informal catalog as a survey of the choices and the motivations for preservation.”

Exhibitions Presenting Sponsor
: Omaha Steaks
: Brand Metal Works, Clark Creative Group, Council Bluffs Recycling Center, Davis Erection and Crane Rental & Rigging, Echo Systems, Education Power | Robert Webber, Larry Gawel Photography, Chris Headley /, Min | Day, Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Rybin Plumbing & Heating, Laura and Gregory Schnackel, Sherwin Williams, Mike Sinclair, Upstream Brewing Company, Visions Custom Framing, Warren Distribution

About the Artist
Wendel A. White was born in Newark, NJ and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He was awarded a BFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York and an MFA in photography from the University of Texas at Austin. White taught photography at the School of Visual Arts, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the International Center for Photography and the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has received numerous awards and fellowships such as a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Photography, two artist fellowships from the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, a photography grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and a New Works Photography Fellowship from En Foco Inc.

White’s work is represented in museum and corporate collections nationwide including: En Foco (New York, NY); the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY); the Museum of Fine Art (Houston, TX); the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL); Haverford College (PA); Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, NJ); Chase Manhattan Bank; the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art at the University of Delaware; the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University (WI) and the New York Public Library Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (NY, NY). The artist has served on the board of directors for the Society for Photographic Education, the Kodak Educational Advisory Council, Save Outdoor Sculpture for New Jersey, the New Jersey Black Culture and Heritage Foundation and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

White’s work is included in various publications such as Posing Beauty by Deborah Willis, Exposure Magazine, Neuva Luz, Photo Review and “Village of Peace: An African American Community in Israel,” which was published in Transition Magazine (Vol. 97) by the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Art at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Galloway.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 S. 12th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
Admission and Parking: FREE
Phone:: 402.341.7130