Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Michele Kong: Critical Density

Critical density is what keeps the universe together. According to cosmologists, critical density is a perfect force of gravity, a delicate and complex balance necessary for life as we know it: any greater, and the universe might collapse; any less, and all matter might spread out so thinly that nothing would exist. And critical density is precisely what artist Michele Kong brings to her intricate, fragile and finely calibrated work. The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts is pleased to present the solo exhibition Michele Kong: Critical Density, on view from November 10, 2006 – 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.

From her elaborately constructed installations to her exquisitely fragile drawings, Kong creates work that exemplifies the concept of critical density. The three installations created for this exhibition all deal with gravity in some way, and their existence is as tenuous as the gravity that contains the cosmos. Equally breathtaking for their simplicity as their complexity, Kong’s impermanent structures emphasize nature’s invisible forces and the underlying structures that make our world possible. The artist uses a precariously precise combination of materials for her pieces to exist – and yet they seem to defy gravity. Similarly, Kong’s drawings exhibit a deliberate subtlety through which she examines the intricacy of natural structures and their inherent buoyancy. Says Kong: “I create work that straddles boundaries of visibility and perception. Through direct observation of phenomenological events, memory and scientific resources, I capture exquisite moments that heighten one's spatial awareness. By instilling wonder and curiosity, I hope to provide an experience in which viewers become free to explore the possibility of the moment: to observe, react and evaluate with a fresh and emotionally startling response.”

Throughout Critical Density, Michele Kong sharpens and articulates environmental cognizance by transporting viewers to a place somewhere beyond normal, conscious experience. The Bemis Center invites the public to experience art featuring cosmological parameters that can realign the relativity of our everyday realities and expand our understanding of universal infinity.

About the artist:
Michele Kong has exhibited her work internationally in venues such as MOMA’s PS 1 Contemporary Art Center (Long Island City, NY), the Museo de Bellas Artes (Santiago, Chile), the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence, RI), the Emmanuel Gallery (Denver, CO), the SACI Gallery (Florence, Italy) and the Transformer Gallery (Washington, DC). She received her BFA in Studio Art from the University of Colorado in Boulder and her MFA in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design. The artist has also received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a travel grant from the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation, the Trawick Prize Young Artist Award and a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Here’s what art critics have been saying about Michele Kong’s work:

• "Michele Kong fashions intricate, gossamer sculptures out of transparent fishing line and glue that look like enormous, floor-to-ceiling spider webs. She also makes amazing, free-hand ink drawings of incredible complexity, in which every stroke of pen or brush is a virtuoso performance." Glenn McNatt, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, MD - May 5, 2005
• "...Kong's work stands out for its intriguing mix of science, mathematical structure and the fluid line of her ink drawings..." Claudia Rousseau, The Gazette, MD - September 21, 2005
• Kong's piece is nearly invisible; it's possible to walk straight through the gallery without even noticing it. Delicate transparent woven forms descend from the ceiling to just a couple of feet below eye level, each narrowing as it approaches the floor. Tiny, clear, irregularly shaped beads are dotted throughout... That such beguiling forms could be made with such inglorious materials is certainly something." Jeffry Cudlin, Washington City Paper, Washington, DC - October 21, 2005

Special thanks and recognition go to Davis Erection Company for their generous support of Michele Kong’s Critical Density.

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