Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Adam Frelin: DIVINER | Gallery 2

Opening Reception: Friday, May 1 | 6:00 - 9:00pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, May 2 | 12 noon
May 1 - August 8, 2009

Adam Frelin shot the short film DIVINER while in residence at Bemis Center during the summer of 2008. That summer’s tumultuous weather — tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods and a hurricane — provides the backdrop for Joe, the film’s protagonist, who has a special interest in foretelling and reporting weather. Although the film follows his attempt to describe psychotic weather cycles, it more pointedly concerns our means for dealing with uncontrollable forces in our lives, be it by reason or faith.

The exhibition includes the 18-minute film, 35 framed photographs and a series of objects/props — knives carved from the wood of destroyed trees, a model of the Ark of the Covenant, a fiberglass lion with a crushed face and mud-caked evergreens — which guide the multiple narratives of the film. Employing non-actors navigating storm-ravaged locations, the film commingles documentation with fiction to form an affecting portrait of turbulence, at turns compassionate and dissonant, which is particularly resonant with our current times.

Frelin is a sculpture professor who makes sculpture, yet he intended this film as a departure from making objects. Ironically, compelling objects appeared throughout the making of the film, moving the story in unforeseen directions. Whereas in previous video works, Frelin’s sculpture generated the narrative thrust; the objects here were discovered along the way. The project caused Frelin to re-examine the roles sculptural objects can perform in relation to themselves and to moving imagery and storytelling.

The editing and composition of the film parallels the loose, psychic connection between the objects in the room, allowing many potential hooks for the viewer. Referring to the roots of his process, Frelin has said, “There is a documentary impulse that guides my work, allowing me to freely move along a gradient from factual to fictive. My projects extract moments from a larger story that is never told in its entirety. These activities take place at points where the natural and constructed worlds intersect. They describe certain actions (moving, stealing, reflecting, disappearing) that are motivated by self-imposed and external forces, the result of both leading and being lead. The characters, and sometimes the objects, seem to carry out these actions with unwavering diligence, driven by desires not entirely evident.”

About the Artist
Adam Frelin lives in Troy, New York where he is an Assistant Professor at the University at Albany. He earned an MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 2001 and has shown widely at such venues as Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles; The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. In addition to Bemis Center he has worked in residence at MacDowell Colony, Fine Arts Work Center and the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

Weather, Man | Sarah Baker, The Reader | 5.28.09
The Storm Seer: Artist spotlights weather's power | John Pitcher, The Omaha World-Herald | 5.24.09

Exhibitions Presenting Sponsor:Omaha Steaks
Sponsors:Clark Creative Group, Council Bluffs Recycling Center, Midwest Airlines, Nebraska Arts Council and Tree Amigos
Event Sponsors: Upstream Brewing Company and Warren Distribution

The Bemis Center would like to thank the Octopus Garden Art Alliance for their partnership on the production of this project and Lauritzen Gardens for their horticulture assistance.

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