Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts

Midwestern Voices & Visions

June 26 – August 16, 2008

Artists | Francisco Aragón, Reginald Baylor, Cecil McDonald Jr., Tomiko Pilson, Artur Silva and Thu Tran

Artist Roundtable Discussion | June 27
Francisco Aragon Reading | June 28

The group exhibition Midwestern Voices & Visions features six artists who each participated in Midwestern artists-in-residence programs over the past year. The artists were selected through an Alliance of Artists Communities effort to recognize outstanding artists from diverse backgrounds and promote minority participation in Midwestern artist communities. The exhibition encompasses disparate media and approaches to subjects ranging from cultural identity and family history to the splintered nature of contemporary life.

Participating Artists and Residency Programs
Francisco Aragon | Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies | Red Wing, Minnesota
Reginald Baylor | Ragdale Foundation | Lake Forest, Illinois
Cecil McDonald, Jr. | Prairie Center for the Arts | Peoria, Illinois
Tomiko Pilson | Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts | Omaha, Nebraska
Artur Silva | Ox-Bow | Saugatuck, Michigan
Thu Tran | Art Farm | Marquette, Nebraska

Francisco Aragon is the author of the poetry collection, Puerta del Sol (Bilingual Press). His work has appeared in a range of anthologies and journals both print and web-based. He directs Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Reginald Baylor's paintings feature a utopian world wholly his own — he supplants drab suburbia with candy-colored neighborhoods, transforms the common flower garden into a hard-edged terrain of idealized specimens and renders the quintessential 1950’s family in high-key neon.

Cecil McDonald’s photographs depict everyday moments of life in domestic spaces. McDonald carefully stages scenarios with his wife and children that convey the power of photography to capture life’s emotional rhythms, from the dramatic to the mundane.

Tomiko Pilson, informed by classical figure painting, creates work rooted in the grand narrative tradition. As a woman of mixed racial and ethnic heritage, she also draws from her many experiences as an "other," generating a synthesis of the two. Her paintings transport viewers to imagined places, such as lush jungles of distant lands, which explore "dangerous territory."

Artur Silva works with a host of digital media to create outsized “productless” ads that explore the ways commercial products are packaged, advertised and distributed. By incorporating elements from advertising, his installations suggest the fragmentation of the contemporary visual world and the manner in which diverse cultures reflect that imagery.

Thu Tran is a self-confessed food-ophile on a perpetual quest for the ultimate “visual MSG.” Her vibrant works, spanning diverse media and ranging from drawings of whimsical worlds to decadent social experiments, are characterized by an engaging sense of glee and willful experimentation with form and the role of the viewer.

Exhibitions Presenting Sponsor | Omaha Steaks

Sponsors | Clark Creative Group, Nebraska Arts Council and 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